Prof Cristobal Uauy

Project Leader
Crop Genetics

Cristobal’s research is focused on using genetics and genomics to improve both yield and quality components in wheat.

He is using natural and induced variation to identify genes which affect cell division and expansion within the seed to improve grain weight.

He is also investigating disease resistance and ways of improving wheat quality, for example nutrient and protein content in the grain.

Cristobal has developed several functional genomics resources to aid wheat breeders and enhance scientific discovery. 

  • Markers for increased grain weight in wheat
  • Triple mutants in wheat for new traits
  • Improving wheat grain quality (nutrients and protein)


The Uauy lab uses molecular genetic approaches to identify genes involved in wheat productivity traits and enhance the translation of this knowledge into improved varieties for industry and consumers.


They aim to understand the mechanisms by which these genes function in order to develop the most rational strategies to deploy these genes into commercial varieties.

They're currently working to enhance wheat disease resistance and improve grain quality and yield by identifying genes related to grain size and shape.

Our impact is centred on innovations in two main areas:

  • Development of genomics-enabled technologies to accelerate plant breeding
  • Facilitating access to these technologies to a wide range of users


To achieve this, they have developed new tools and platforms to aid in visualisation and practical implementation of large-scale datasets into breeding practices.


Tel: 01603 450195

Previously grainy wheat genome comes into focus

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Major award recognises UK and global impact of wheat scientist

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Pumping Iron – Biofortified wheat produces white flour with extra iron

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Pioneering work in wheat breeding programmes hailed in BBSRC awards

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Selected Publications

Brinton J., Simmonds J., Minter F., Leverington-Waite M., Snape J., Uauy C. (2017)

Increased pericarp cell length underlies a major quantitative trait locus for grain weight in hexaploid wheat.

New Phytologist online ponline

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/nph.14624

Clavijo B. J., Venturini L., Schudoma C., Accinelli G. G., Kaithakottil G., Wright J., Borrill P., Kettleborough G., Heavens D., Chapman H., Lipscombe J., Barker T., Lu F. H., McKenzie N., Raats D., Ramirez R. H., Coince A., Peel N., Percival-Alwyn L., Duncan O., Trösch J., Yu G., Bolser D. M., Namaati G., Kerhornou A., Spannagl M., Gundlach H., Haberer G., Davey R. P., Fosker C., Palma F. D., Phillips A. L., Millar A. H., Kersey P. J., Uauy C., Krasileva K. V., Swarbreck D., Bevan M. W., Clark M. D. (2017)

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Genome Research 27 p885-896

Publisher’s version: 10.1101/gr.217117.116

Krasileva K. V., Vazquez-Gross H. A., Howell T., Bailey P., Paraiso F., Clissold L., Simmonds J., Ramirez Gonzalez R. H., Wang X., Borrill P., Fosker C., Ayling S., Phillips A., Uauy C., Dubcovsky J. (2017)

Uncovering hidden variation in polyploid wheat

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America early edition pearly edition

Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1619268114

Recent Publications

Ford B. A., Foo E., Sharwood R., Karafiatova M., Vrána J., MacMillan C., Nichols D. S., Steuernagel B., Uauy C., Dolezel J., Chandler P. M., Spielmeyer W. (2018)

Rht18 Semidwarfism in Wheat Is Due to Increased GA 2-oxidaseA9 Expression and Reduced GA Content.

Plant Physiology 177 p168-180

Publisher’s version: 10.1104/pp.18.00023

Watson A., Ghosh S., Williams M., Cuddy W. S., Simmonds J., Santome M. -. D., Hatta M. A. M., Hinchliffe A., Steed A., Reynolds D., Adamski N., Breakspear A., Korolev A., Rayner T., Dixon L. E., Riaz A., Martin W., Ryan M., Edwards D., Batley J., Raman H., Rogers C., Domoney C., Moore G., Harwood W., Nicholson P., Dieters M. J., DeLacy I. H., Zhou J., Uauy C., Boden S. A., Park R. F., Wulff B. B. H., Hickey L. T. (2018)

Speed breeding: a powerful tool to accelerate crop research and breeding

Nature Plants 4 p23-29

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41477-017-0083-8

Chia T., Adamski N. M., Saccomanno B., Greenland A., Nash A., Uauy C., Trafford K. (2017)

Transfer of a starch phenotype from wild wheat to bread wheat by deletion of a locus controlling B-type starch granule content.

Journal of Experimental Botany 68 p5497-5509

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/erx349

Shorinola O., Balcárková B., Hyles J., Tibbits J. F. G., Hayden M. J., Holuova K., Valárik M., Distelfeld A., Torada A., Barrero J. M., Uauy C. (2017)

Haplotype Analysis of the Pre-harvest Sprouting Resistance Locus Phs-A1 Reveals a Causal Role of TaMKK3-A in Global Germplasm.

Frontiers in plant science 8 p1555

Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01555

View All

Cristobal Uauy


2017 - The Royal Agricultural Society of England Research Award

2015 - Personal Promotion BBSRC (Band G)

2014 - Society of Experimental Biology President's Medal Award, 2014

2014 - Honorary Readership, University of East Anglia, UK

2011 - Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award, Bayer Foundation, Leverkusen, Germany

2007 - CGS/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award, Biological and Life Sciences (awarded every two years to the best dissertation from member Universities in USA and Canada)

2007 - Allen G. Marr Prize Distinguished Dissertation Award, Graduate Studies, UC Davis, CA

2007 - John E. Kinsella Memorial Prize, College of Agric. and Env. Sciences, UC Davis, CA

2007 - Shapiro Family Fund for Excellence in Science Award, Dept. of Plant Sci., UC Davis, CA

2007 - Gerald O. Mott Scholarship for Meritorious Graduate Students in Crop Science (UC Davis), CSSA

2001 - Academic Excellence Award, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Highest GPA of graduating class)


For media enquiries, contact the John Innes Centre communications team 01603 450962,

Media experience: print media and radio interviews (recorded preferred)

Increasing farmers' yields


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