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Genetic analysis of the effect of circadian clock genes on yield components in wheat (T. aestivum)

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The circadian clock serves to coordinate physiology and behaviour in a wide range of organisms with its daily cycles derived from the rotation of the earth (McClung, 2013). In plants, circadian rhythms contribute to growth and yield and, hence to agricultural productivity (Dodd et al., 2005). We are investigating the effect of the wheat orthologues of A. thaliana core circadian clock genes on yield potential and contributing agronomic traits in wheat, providing an assessment of the viability of circadian tools for agronomic improvement.

After having identified the wheat orthologues of the circadian clock genes, I am currently conducting association mapping to link circadian clock genes with relevant traits. I am screening the identified circadian clock genes for variation between the MAGIC parents to develop high quality sub genome specific circadian clock markers. These and an existing set of markers are being used to associate circadian clock genes with phenotypes in a winter wheat Multi Parent Advanced Inter Cross (MAGIC) population. I have also optimized a high throughput delayed chlorophyll fluorescence assay to detect and resolve novel quantitative trait loci affecting circadian rhythms.

McClung, C. R. Beyond Arabidopsis: the circadian clock in non-model plant species. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. 24, 430–6 (2013).

Dodd, A. N. et al. Plant circadian clocks increase photosynthesis, growth, survival, and competitive advantage. Science 309, 630–3 (2005).

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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