YES, Next Generation Sequencing technologies and bioinformatics

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Natural & Environmental Sciences


Plant viruses pose an important threat to agricultural systems around the world. In developed agricultural systems the impact is predominantly economic, whilst in developing systems viruses threaten food security. Globally, they are responsible for losses estimated at 15bEuros to 45bEuros per year. Though best known for such deleterious impacts, metagenomics approaches are revealing that many viruses live asymptomatically within plants. These include neutral and in some instances, beneficial viruses. The Partitivirideae and the Endonaviridae, for example, spend their entire life cycle within the host with no known deleterious effects. Other viruses promote resilience to stresses: Curvularia thermal tolerance virus confers heat tolerance to the host plant; white clover cryptic virus suppresses the formation of nitrogen fixing nodules when adequate nitrogen is present; and zucchini yellow mosaic virus infects wild gourds, where it reduces the production of volatiles that attract vectors of bacterial wilt pathogen. Moreover, both asymptomatic and disease-causing viruses naturally manipulate plant growth and development, and as such they represent an invaluable and largely unexplored resource for improving crop resilience and novel biological engineering. This project will investigate viral load in wild and domesticated grasses in the UK, including important cereal crops. The PhD will specifically investigate healthy individuals to identify latent, disease-causing agents and asymptomatic viruses. The programme will use this knowledge to examine opportunities for developing grass viruses as beneficial crop improvement technologies.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011186/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2024
2144113 Studentship BB/M011186/1 01/10/2018 20/12/2023 ERROR Prusokiene