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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Genomics of Adaption to Climate Change in Rice

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The project uses genome-scale data for wild rice to identify genes involved in environmental adaptation, confirm the role of these genes, and determine if the distributions of adaptive alleles have changed over time.

Feeding a growing population sustainably in the face of climate change requires us to resolve the genetic basis of crop tolerance to stress (especially temperature, precipitation and edaphic factors). Crops have reduced genetic diversity for stress tolerances compared to wild species, as a result of genetic bottlenecks associated with breeding selection. The analysis of crop-wild relatives can lead to the identification of adaptive genetic variation that can be bred into commercial cultivars.

The project analyses genome-scale data for wild rice, using Environmental Association Analysis to infer correlations between genetic polymorphisms and environmental variables (e.g., precipitation, temperature, soil chemistry) and identify genes involved in environmental adaptation. A subset of these candidate genes will then be functionally analysed by identifying their effect on adaptive phenotypes under stress.

Finally, distributions of adaptive alleles in space and time will then be correlated to longitudinal climate data to assess if frequencies of adaptive alleles have been affected by recent climate change.

CREDIT: This image is part of the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Image from IRRI
Rice is very diverse, not only morphologically but ecologically too.

Lead PI: Mark Chapman
Co-supervisors: Mark Carine & Lorraine Williams

Funding provider: NERC INSPIRE DTP
Funding dates: 2020-2024

Related research groups

Ecology and Evolution
Plants and Food Security
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