Optimising and sustaining biomass yield

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Funder Project Reference(s)

Effective start/end date01 Apr 201231 Mar 2017


The aim of the project is to link genotype to phenotype for yield associated traits via two key biological processes: 1) Temporal and spatial optimisation of light capture via improved plant and leaf architecture, delayed senescence, and optimal plant density; 2) Responses to drought and determination of key traits to mitigate impacts of water limitation through characterisation of root growth and stomatal control. Our challenge is to understand the critical mechanisms underlying variation in traits, how traits interact over the perennial cycle, and to determine their effects on biomass yield and composition. Populations segregating for morphological and developmental traits, including breeding lines, will be used to relate phenotype and genotype with yield. We will determine the impact of temperature and light in controlling morphology and development to allow modelling of genotype by environment interactions, and contribute to predictions of successful ideotypes under different environments. We will use a new plant phenomics facility at Aberystwyth to expand our studies including on yield stability and responses to abiotic stress. These studies will be related, using modelling, to results obtained from the same genotypes in the field. Comparative genomics will be used to reveal the extent of syntenic relationships with other grasses, elucidate genomic architecture and contribute to understanding trait regulation in highly productive C4 grasses.