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Hormonal control of reproductive architecture in bread wheat

Faculty of Biological Sciences

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Dr Tom Bennett , Dr S Kepinski No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

With Dr Andrea Harper, University of York

Key to the reproductive success of flowering plants is the production of appropriate numbers of fruit and seed in space and time (reproductive architecture). Plants have strong, but poorly understand, negative feedback mechanisms that prevent over-commitment of resources to reproductive development, but these likely act as a limit on crop yield in agricultural contexts. This project aims to shed light on these mechanisms in the key UK crop bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). Reproductive architecture is highly diverse amongst bread wheat landraces, which provides an excellent opportunity to use quantitative genetics to identify novel regulators of reproductive architecture. This project will use a diversity panel of 300 landraces to identify and characterise key genetic loci that regulate important reproductive traits. The project will also specifically examine the role of strigolactones, key hormonal regulators of shoot branching, in reproductive architecture control in wheat. The project will involve a combination of molecular and quantitative genetics, bioimaging, bioinformatics and plant physiology. Overall, this is a highly timely project, as understanding the mechanisms that regulate reproductive architecture could unlock rapid yield increases in wheat and other cereals.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.
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