Balancing the genetics of source and sink to increase the productivity of bread wheat

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

Bread wheat is a major staple of world food supply and the UKs major crop. This project will be carried out in the Crop Genetics department of the John Innes Centre with strong commercial support from KWS, a leading wheat breeding company . The student will study the way in which one gene controls senescence of wheat with consequences for crop maturity, grain filling, and yield. They will work towards identifying this gene and show how it interacts with genes controlling flowering and how this type of genetic variation can be used to grow better crop under conditions of stress (reduced nitrogen fertilization and drought) so contributing to the sustainability of crop production. This will provide the opportunity to understand the consequences of genetic changes from the single plant developmental level, through to farmers fields, and real impact for global food security. Already developed precise genetic resources will be used to uncouple flowering time from maturity and show whether the two traits can be manipulated independently resulting in improved crop performance. The student will receive excellent training in genetics, genomics, molecular biology and breeding.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1654063 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Elizabeth Chapman
 
Description Industrial collaboration with an international plant breeder within pre-breeding 
Organisation KWS UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution My research group developed the plant material which forms the basis of my PhD, supported by this funding award. We supply KWS with the material for trial, which I then score and phenotype on their behalf. I am responsible for data recording, whole plant, physiological and yield assessments and data analysis, alongside further study of the trait and my intellectual insight into any potential benefits. My role is to identify the genetics responsible for the trait to make it applicable for use in breeding.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of additional field trial capacity across a variety of sites within the UK, France and Germany. Intellectual insight and critical feedback when discussing project directions and avenues of research. KWS provide training into plant phenotyping and breeding practices, technical training for successful organisation and conductance of field trials and access to their facilities, methods and equipment. They supply funding towards the project and covering of additional expenses incurred by me to conduct my research and contribute to sequencing and travel costs.
Impact Field trial results
Start Year 2015
 
Description Agri-Tech East Plot Tour at Honingham Thorpe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 20 people attending a plot tour to discuss and explain current status of recommended list varieties, incuding a plot tour and variety evaluation. The small audience provided ample opportunity to discuss my own research topic and it's applicability regarding the current status quo of the wheat and cereals market. The session conjured up some interest among individuals from Agri-Tech East prompting hopes of organising future events involving myself, and other postgraduates and researchers based at JIC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.agritech-east.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/DSC_0053.jpg
 
Description Breeders Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A departmental type open day, explicitly designed to showcase the outputs in relation to crop genetics and applied research, and showcase the resources and facilities JIC has on offer. The day was aimed at Breeders and funding bodies, alongside researchers from a specific research partnership. I was taking part in the plot tours, explaining my own research project, what I am hoping to achieve, and the methods I am applying to hopefully achieve this. This sparked multiple questions and led to some interesting discussions, alongside exchanges of personal details and experiences which have helped shaped my thoughts and shape my hypotheses and research ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL http://www.wheatinitiative.org/events/jic-breeders-day
 
Description Cereals Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Engaging and communicating the work of JIC, BBSRC, IBERS and Rothamsted Research to the agricultural sector, including farmers, agronomists, consultants, breeders, other researchers and the public. I was showcasing the research conducted at JIC, including discussing my own research interests and that of my groups, and how the research pipeline delivers measurable benefits to breeders, farmers and ultimately society. We also discussed the latest research techniques, gathering opinion on some of the more controversial techniques and explaining current legislation, particularly regarding GMOs. It was an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding and appreciation of the dilemnas and pressures farmers face, and their demands and needs. It really helped to contextualise my own work and showcase the benefits research can bring to that sector. Discussions were lively, with some valuable outcomes and questions resulting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2016/06/cereals-2016/
 
Description Grand Challenges Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Grand Challenges in Plant Pathology Workshop. A structured workshop whereupon multiple industries/research agencies introduced questions/case-studies of current problems within their areas of expertise to an audience of postgraduate students. These included Syngenta, CABI, FERA and APH, and post explanation of each scenario various technologies were introduced which may be beneficial tools to help address those scenarios. The workshops also included training from a wide variety of people, including those from Bayer, agronomists, farmers and modellers to understand limitiations and applications of technologies regarding the solutions we were trying to propose. The event promoted engagment amongst postgraduate students from a range of universities, alongside industry and professional bodies, within a fast paced, critical environment. Having attended and participated in the event I have gained a wide skill set, with my contribution potentially helping to steer the direction of research, or alternative uses of data, in future,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/events/bspp-grand-challenges-plant-pathology-interdisciplinary-stud...
 
Description JIC Science Innovation Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Science Innovation Showcase was designed to promote industry engagement, showcasing the platforms which exist at JIC across departments. I attended the networking session, promoting my own research interests, explaining the research of the rest of my lab group, our collaborations and ultimately the aims and applications of our research. Many interesting discussions were had, with the hope of opening other avenues of research later down the line, and a lot of positive exchanging of ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/whats-on/science-innovation-showcase/
 
Description JIC50 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An open day to mark the 50th anniversary of JIC being in Norwich, open to the general public within the surrounding region to showcase the research at the organisation. Activitieis on offer were suitable for all ages, bringing together every generation and walk of life. Overall the event led to a great deal of discussion on a massive variety of topics, from fundamental science, technicalities of our research, our varying backgrounds and occupations. The event provided participants a wider understanding and appreciation of my own research, plus that of the organisation, resulting in greater knowledge of the local community. Afterwards many people commented how much they enjoyed the day and wished they could have stayed longer to have a further look and engage with a greater number of people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/blog-copy/2017/09/open-day/
 
Description Open Farm Sunday 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Open Farm Sunday is a national programme and here I was discussing my research, alongside that of my wider research and additional research groups at JIC. Over 2000 people attended the event and we were talking for the majority of the time, it sparked a lot of questioning on a variety of topics, including: My scientific background, current farming practices, research practices, utility and impact of our research. As a result of the event many people decided to attend the JIC50 event later in the year to find out more about the research both I and the institute conduct.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/farming/open-farm-sunday-thousands-enjoy-countryside-fun-as-east-ang...
 
Description Teacher Science Network Question Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Sitting on a 'Scientists Question Panel' at an event tailored for secondary school pupils to engage them in science and challenge any conceptions they may have about the day-to-day life of a scientific researcher. We took questions from both the organiser of the event, a member of the Teacher Science Network, and the audience. I hope that it will have inspired a few of them in future to pursue science as a subject, and illustrates just how varied all our research lives have been so far-not least with respect to not always knowing what we wanted to do in future and how other people and scenarios have influenced our lives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.tsn.org.uk/
 
Description Youth Women in STEMM event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Discussing being a women in science with a large group of female GCSE students whom were invited to the John Innes Centre as part of a Youth Women in STEM event. The event helped raise awareness of careers open to women and topics of research, with me describing the basis of my PhD work, what got me interested in science and my pathway to where I currently am in my academic career. The event challenged misconceptions many had that science, especially biology, is dominated by men, which is not true, and yes, you too could have a valuable role in scientific discovery. The session was mainly focussed on careers in botany and plant science, for which most of the audience had very little experience of, and hopefully will encourage them to consider plant science as a study topic of interest in future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2016/01/-youth-stemm-mid-year/