Protecting our bread wheat against Septoria with disease resistance genes from wild relatives (WULFF_J17DTP)

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


The wild ancestors of domesticated wheat represent an extraordinarily diverse source of genetic variation for improving disease resistance in wheat. Identification and manipulation of key genes underpinning this variation will help to sustainably increase yields and secure global food security.

In recent years the Septoria fungus has emerged as a major pathogen of wheat in many wheat growing regions across the world. Septoria is controlled by a combination of genetic resistance and fungicides. However, the fungus has evolved insensitivity to all three major classes of fungicide, and, as a result, some countries are on the verge of abandoning bread wheat cultivation altogether.

This PhD project will employ laboratory pathology experiments, field trials, molecular genetics and bioinformatics to characterise a suite of wheat lines containing whole chromosomes transferred from wild relatives of wheat into domesticated wheat, imparting (near-)complete immunity to Septoria. State-of-the-art enabling tools, including mutational genomics and high-throughput sequence-complexity reduction [1], will be used to clone a key Septoria resistance gene. Our overarching long-term objective is to understand the genetic basis of Septoria immunity in wild wheat and engineer this resistance into cultivated bread wheat.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1917963 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Amber Hafeez