Website Wageningen University & Research

An enthusiastic and highly motivated PhD student to work on the link between flowering time, plant architecture and yield in temperate cereals, barley and wheat. In temperate cereals yield is determined by a delegate balance between the moment of flowering, seed weight and seed and side branch (tiller) number. These yield components are controlled by architecture genes that regulate tiller- and seed outgrowth, and the flowering time genes which control the timing of this growth. All these traits are seemingly unconnected, but recent evidence indicates that the same genes and regulatory modules control both the flowering time and the outgrowth of seeds and tillers, but importantly, contributing in an opposite manner to yield. Such negative correlations between yield components make improvement of yield difficult. An optimal balance between flowering time, and seed and tiller numbers is thus essential to maximize yield. This requires knowledge-based breeding strategies, aiming to increase yield through manipulation of flowering time, and different plant architectural traits.
Your role in the team is to unravel the molecular and genetic bases that underlie the trade-off between key yield components in temperate cereals, barley and wheat. You will investigate how flowering time, and seed and tiller numbers are connected at the molecular level. In addition, you will study the effect of natural variation in key regulators on the molecular networks. For this you will use a scale of known molecular techniques and develop state-of-the art omics tools to study protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions of key yield controlling transcriptional regulators.You can apply up and until February 15, 2021

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