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Physiological and molecular characterisation of altered root hydraulic properties in rice due to allelic variation or genetic manipulation of plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIPs, a class of aquaporins)

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

Project Description

A cluster of three PIPs on chromosome 7 of rice are all candidate genes for a drought avoidance locus. These genes are highly expressed in roots and thought to have a major role in root hydraulic conductance. Natural allelic variation in hydraulic conductance has been detected in near isogenic lines differing only for this part of chromosome 7, but is only detected when plants are droughted. RNAi knockdown lines of one gene (PIP2.1) show lower hydraulic conductance irrespective of drought, while RNAi lines of PIP2.4 show no clear phenotype. We could hypothesis either that the natural variation affects hydraulic conductance only when flow rates are high (when transportation is high) or that it affects it only when the roots are dried. We want to test these hypothesis. We want to know the implications for drought avoidance since the implication is that in some scenarios, lower hydraulic conductance would have a negative impact on performance under drought, while in others it would be a benefit. In addition, we want to know more about the differences between i) genotypes, ii) wild type/transgenics and iii) well watered/droughted plants in terms of their expression and protein composition of PIP genes, a complex problem given the strong homology between PIP gene family members and the complex heterodimer nature of their existence in membranes.

Application Process

Please apply for admission to the ’Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Science’ to ensure that your application is passed to the correct School for processing.

Please provide a copy of the degree certificate and transcript for each previous degree undertaken, a copy of your English language proficiency certificate (if relevant), and contact details of two referees who can comment on your previous academic performance (at least one should be from your current degree programme). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered provided they have a Distinction at Masters level.

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