Research

Farmers have long used selective plant breeding to improve crop yields and nutritional content. Now, perhaps more than ever, new cultivars of agriculturally relevant crops are needed for coping with widely varying climates, increases in world population, and diminishing natural resources.

Selective breeding programs can require decades of trial and error to arrive at desirable characteristics in a cultivar. However, such programs can be accelerated significantly through computational and experimental genomics.

ACPFG scientists apply information about genome composition, gene expression, and metabolic processes to arrive at descriptions of complex processes in plants. These fundamental insights can accelerate production of new cultivars that can cope with adverse environmental conditions with improved yields and nutritional content for a growing world population. ACPFG focuses these efforts on crops such as wheat and barley.

Traditional selective breeding and genetic engineering approaches are based on trial and error. The lack of rationale can extend the time to develop a cultivar to ten years and more. This situation is improved in programs that utilize insights into gene expression and function, which are obtained from molecular level investigations of biochemical processes. Insight into plant processes at a molecular level facilitates sharpened approaches toward producing viable cultivars.

ACPFG investigates the areas within the plant that respond to stressful conditions like drought, salinity, heat, frost and nutrient deficiencies. 

Areas of keen interest to ACPFG involve processes associated with stress-related damage, adaptation to growing conditions, and nutritional content.

Improvements in these plant responses deliver tangible industry outcomes like cereal varieties tailored to withstand hostile environments.

 

For a summary of Masters / PhD research projects on offer for students, please click here.

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