Research Fellows Directory
Dr Scott Boden
John Innes Centre
The objective of my proposal is to identify genes and biological processes that regulate the architecture of the wheat inflorescence - a structure that contains grain-producing flowers. I will use this information to assess how modifying inflorescence architecture and development could increase grain production in wheat, which is the most abundantly grown cereal and provides 20% of the world’s calorie and protein intake.
It is important to perform this research in wheat because there is essentially nothing known about the genes that regulate inflorescence architecture in this plant, and because there are fundamental aspects of development that are unique to wheat, relative to other cereals. This research will therefore increase our understanding of molecular pathways that determine inflorescence architecture in wheat while also providing important insight into general biological processes and strategies used by plants to determine how available resources can be best used for seed production. My previous demonstration that inflorescence architecture in wheat is regulated by the strength of the flowering signal, and examples from other research groups that flower morphology of cereals is influenced by hormones, nutrients and sugars, illustrate that this research is exciting because it brings together multiple areas of plant biology.
This project has great potential to deliver outputs that will benefit society by contributing to increased grain production. For example, outcomes of this project will increase our knowledge about genetic pathways and critical stages of development that determine maximum grain number, and genetic resources developed here will be used by breeders to help increase grain production. These outcomes are timely because they address increasing concerns related to food security, with current estimates suggesting that wheat production needs to increase by 60% by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)