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Genomics of Adaption to Climate Change in Rice

Project Description

Project Rationale:
Feeding a growing population sustainably in the face of climate change requires us to resolve the genetic basis of crop tolerance to stress (especially temperature, precipitation and edaphic factors). Crops have reduced genetic diversity for stress tolerances compared to wild species; the analysis of crop-wild relatives can lead to the identification of adaptive genetic variation that can be bred into commercial cultivars.
In this project, the student will use genome-scale data for wild rice to identify genes involved in environmental adaptation, confirm the role of these genes, and determine if the distributions of adaptive alleles have changed over time.
Rice is a staple for almost half of the world population, therefore plentiful genomic data and seed material exists. Yet the data has not been exhaustively analysed, and we have identified a novel cutting-edge way to identify adaptive genetic variation. The three key stages are:
• Genomes of locally-adapted wild rice and locally important cultivars will be analysed to identify genes involved in adaptation to soil and climate.
• Candidate genes will be functionally tested using transgenics
• Sequencing of adaptive alleles from 20-100 year old herbarium samples will assess how allele frequencies change over time, with implications for climate change resilience.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply


Pyhäjärvi, T., M. B. Hufford, S. Mezmouk, and J. Ross-Ibarra. 2013. Complex Patterns of Local Adaptation in Teosinte. Genome Biology and Evolution 5: 1594-1609.
Tian, J., C. Wang, J. Xia, L. Wu, G. Xu, W. Wu, D. Li, et al. 2019. Teosinte ligule allele narrows plant architecture and enhances high-density maize yields. Science 365: 658.
Xu, K., X. Xu, T. Fukao, P. Canlas, R. Maghirang-Rodriguez, S. Heuer, A. M. Ismail, et al. 2006. Sub1A is an ethylene-response-factor-like gene that confers submergence tolerance to rice. Nature 442: 705-708.

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

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

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

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