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Can epigenetic differences between wheat land races explain phenotypic variation in important agricultural traits? (Liverpool)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof A J W Hall
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Food Security has risen to the top of the international agenda following recent spikes in the price of food and the perceived growing threat to future supplies (see, e.g., the “G8 Action on Food Security and Nutrition” http://www.state.gov/s/globalfoodsecurity/190282.htm). Along with an efficient distribution system and minimizing waste, providing an adequate supply of food is a key contributor to securing food supply. Sustaining this into the future will be very difficult in the face of a steadily increasing population and diminishing availability of fertile land and water for agriculture. The challenge is made even more difficult by projected changes to climate. To meet this challenge is going to require new and innovative strategies and a new type of biologist. This is a joint project between Durham and Liverpool combining training in trait measurement and genomics. The University of Liverpool plays a leading international role in developing genome sequence resources for wheat including new high throughput marker technologies that detect sequence-based allelic variation. These are now key components of wheat breeding programmes. However, sequence variation is not the only type of genetic variation likely to be contributing to trait differences. This project will test the hypothesis that epigenetic variation makes important contributions to trait variation. Moreover, it will test the utility of integrating epi-alleles into breeding programmes, developing assays and investigating the stability of epi-alleles following crosses to elite breeding material. Understanding the contribution of epigenetic to trait variation and stability of epi-alleles is important to wheat breeders and is also an important challenge for modern genetics.

For further information see the website: https://www.liv.ac.uk/integrative-biology/

To apply:
Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [email protected]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 for 2015-16). The PhD will start in September 2016. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


Rachel Brenchley, Manuel Spannagl, Matthias Pfeifer, Gary L.A. Barker, Rosalinda D’Amore, Alexandra M. Allen, Neil McKenzie, Melissa Kramer, Dan Bolser, Suzanne Kay, Darren Waite, Yong Gu, Naxin Huo, Ming-Cheng Luo, Sunish Sehgal, Sharyar Kianian, Martin Trick, Ian Bancroft, Bikram Gill, Olin Anderson, Jan Dvorak, Paul Kersey, Richard McCombie, Anthony Hall*, Klaus F.X. Mayer*, Keith J. Edwards*, Michael W. Bevan* and Neil Hall. (2012) Analysis of the allohexaploid bread wheat genome (Triticum aestivum) using comparative whole genome shotgun sequencing. Nature 491, 705–710 (2012) co-corresponding author.

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