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Dynamics of homologous chromosome pairing in Arabidopsis meiosis: A central role for the telomere

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S J Armstrong
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

This project will investigate the role of telomeres in Arabidopsis meiosis using the significant advantages offered by this species as a plant model for elucidating fundamental aspects of telomere biology. The primary role of the telomere is to stabilise the ends of the eukaryotic chromosome, but it is apparent that the telomere also has a role in meiosis. Amongst the outstanding questions in meiosis generally, is how homologous chromosomes find each other and pair. In Arabidopsis, we have established that homologous telomeres are paired ahead of the rest of the chromosome but we have no idea of how this is achieved. Thus, the objectives of this project are to
1. Investigate the dynamics of telomere behaviour in the early prophase I cell.

2. Investigate how the homologous chromosomes achieve pairing via the telomeres, including the use of knock-out or knock-down plants where the stability of the telomeres is compromised and their length is reduced.

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Please find additional funding text below. For further funding details, please see the ‘Funding’ section.

The School of Biosciences offers a number of UK Research Council (e.g. BBSRC, NERC) PhD studentships each year. Fully funded research council studentships are normally only available to UK nationals (or EU nationals resident in the UK) but part-funded studentships may be available to EU applicants resident outside of the UK. The deadline for applications for research council studentships is 31 January each year.

Each year we also have a number of fully funded Darwin Trust Scholarships. These are provided by the Darwin Trust of Edinburgh and are for non-UK students wishing to undertake a PhD in the general area of Molecular Microbiology. The deadline for this scheme is also 31 January each year.

Funding Notes

All applicants should indicate in their applications how they intend to fund their studies. We have a thriving community of international PhD students and encourage applications at any time from students able to find their own funding or who wish to apply for their own funding (e.g. Commonwealth Scholarship, Islamic Development Bank).

The postgraduate funding database provides further information on funding opportunities available and further information is also available on the School of Biosciences website


JD Higgins*, SJ Armstrong*, FCH Franklin, GH Jones. 2004. The Arabidopsis MutS homologue At MSH4 functions at an early step in recombination; evidence for two classes of recombination in Arabidopsis. Genes and Development 18, 2557-2570
*joint first authors
Armstrong S.J., Franklin F.C.H., Jones G.H. (2001) Nucleolus-associated telomere clustering and pairing precede meiotic chromosome synapsis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Cell Science 114:4207-4217

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 42.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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