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A major virus threat to UK crops

School of Life Sciences

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Dr J Walsh , Dr G Teakle , Dr D Hackenberg No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Turnip yellows virus (TuYV) is the most important viral diseases in commercial brassica crops and causes up to 46% yield losses. TuYV belongs to the Polerovirus genus and is transmitted by aphids. This single stranded RNA virus is phloem-limited and visual symptoms infection are often subtle and difficult to detect. In brassicas TuYV infection is wide spread and incidence rates are high. Today crop protection against TuYV heavily depends on genetic resistance. There is only one source for partial resistance to TuYV available in Europe. No resistance gene to TuYV was identified and our knowledge of the molecular mechanism of TuYV infection in plants is still fragmentary.

This project aims to identify candidate genes responsible for TuYV resistance in a recently mapped resistant brassica plant line using NGS technology. Candidate genes will be taken forward for proof of concept studies in a model plant system in this project.

A second objective is to analyse TuYV infection in pea (Pisum sativum). Recently, TuYV was detected in agronomically important pea crops. The extent and impact of the TuYV outbreaks in pea are still unknown and there is an urgent need to assess the risks TuYV presents for pea crops. The UK is the largest producer of frozen peas in Europe and annual production of more than 160,000 tonnes underpins the commercial importance of this crop. The aims of this component of the project is to identify the range of TuYV isolates capable of infecting pea, quantify virus titres in different commercial pea varieties during infection and determine the impact on growth and yield.
Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:
- Virus detection and quantification via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and RT-PCR
- Data analysis DNA-seq and phylogenetic analysis
- Molecular biological techniques like PCR, cloning, sequencing etc.
- Plant transformation

Funding Notes

Studentship includes: fees, a tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 p.a (to rise in line with UKRI recommendation); a travel allowance in year 1; a travel / conference budget; a generous consumables budget and use of a MacBook Pro for the duration of the programme. In order to apply you must ensure that you are eligible.
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