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BBSRC White Rose DTP studentship - Unraveling the mechanics of lateral gene transfer between grasses

   School of Biosciences

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  Dr Luke Dunning, Prof Jurriaan Ton  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lateral gene transfer (LGT) is a widespread phenomenon in grasses that has moved functional genes across the family into domesticated and wild species alike. Key crops such as maize, wheat and rice have dozens of lateral acquired genes in their genomes, but how they got there and the effect they have is unknown. The student will investigate the mechanics of LGT in key crops using a combination of cutting edge experimental, genetic and computational approaches. 

The three main fundamental biological are questions: 

[1] How is this foreign DNA inserted into the genome of the recipient? Are the genes randomly inserted into the genome, or are there specific target sites that might hint at the mechanisms behind the transfers

[2] How are the transferred genes actually used by the recipient plant? Just because you have the recipe doesn't necessarily mean you know how to express it.

[3] Do LGTs in crops play a role in environmental adaptation or certain agronomic traits?

The outcomes of this project have the potential to alter our understanding of how plants can rapidly adapt to environmental change through trading genetic secrets, with potential impacts on future crop generation and climate change mitigation.

The BBSRC WR DTP and the University of Sheffield are committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Note: Relocation costs for international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) will be the responsibility of the student 

Entry Requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions. 


Click to apply

Programme: PhD in Mechanistic Biology (4 years)

Start Date: 1st October 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed mid February 2023

Funding Notes

This project is part of the BBSRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 4 years. The funding includes:
• Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£17,668 for 2022 starts)
• UK tuition fees (£4,596 for 2022)
• Research support and training grant (RSTG)
We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme

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