Mining genetic diversity in wild barley for disease resistance

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Sainsbury Laboratory


Under the threat of climate change, an expanding worldwide population, and increasing movement of goods and people worldwide, the challenges for agriculture have never been more pressing. Barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. vulgare) was one of the earliest domesticated crops which occurred 10,000 years before present. Barley has and continues to be impacted by several plant disease including rust, mildew, blast, scald, smut, and others. The wild progenitor of barley is H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum, a species with a wide range from North Africa to southwest China. Wild barley is in the primary gene pool of domesticated barley; therefore, it can be directly accessed through breeding to improve barley. This project sets out to understand immune receptor diversity in wild barley and to identify genes that can be used to improve domesticated barley. Skills that will be gained during the project include bioinformatics (high-throughput genomics, big data), genetics (biparental and association), modern plant breeding, and molecular biology.
This PhD project will be supervised by Dr. Matthew Moscou at The Sainsbury Laboratory and is an industrial collaboration with KWS, a leader in barley breeding in the UK. The Moscou group focuses on understanding immunity in the grasses, with the goal of engineering durable disease resistance in the major cereal crops (barley, wheat, rice, and maize).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2246549 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 James Russell