Dr Simon Griffiths

Project Leader
Crop Genetics

Simon studies height and flowering time in bread wheat and the genes which control the interaction between these traits to influence yield.

Simon’s research undertakes large scale screening of wheat lines, using mapping techniques to identify QTL for traits of interest.

Simon uses field phenomics platforms to measure traits in real time under agricultural conditions and identifies markers targeted to specific environments. These are used to inform breeders of traits of interest alongside provision of pre-breeding germplasm.

  • QTL mapping of height, flowering time and yield in target environments
  • Genetic control of flowering time and duration in wheat
  • Field phenomics platforms for trait measurement in the field


The group study height and flowering time in bread wheat, taking the two characteristics together, because the developmental processes behind them are entwined, exerting a complex influence on the way a wheat crop fits lifecycle to environment while allocating captured resources to one organ or another. What genes control this balancing act?

To answer this question, specialised techniques are used pinpoint genes within the large and complex genome of bread wheat. The specific DNA sequence changes that confer beneficial effects are identified and tools developed that allow breeders to use this new knowledge for the production of elite wheat varieties. Extensive use is made of Landraces to capture genetic variation that is lost to modern bread wheat but through work carried out here can now be used.

The genes identified in this work operate within molecular networks. They see how they operate within these networks to provide new ideas for the application of the genetic architecture of wheat to design new varieties of this crop fit for the challenge of sustainable food security.

Indo-UK Centre for the improvement of Nitrogen use Efficiency in Wheat (INEW)

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Two JIC projects selected to form part of international wheat research portfolio

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WISP course on Wheat Genetics 2015

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Recent Publications

Dixon L. E., Farre A., Finnegan E. J., Orford S., Griffiths S., Boden S. A. (2018)

Developmental responses of bread wheat to changes in ambient temperature following deletion of a locus that includes FLOWERING LOCUS T1

Plant, Cell and Environment

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/pce.13130

Zhou J., Applegate C., Alonso A., Reynolds D., Orford S., Mackiewicz M., Griffiths S., Penfield S., Pullen N. (2017)

Leaf-GP: an open and automated software application for measuring growth phenotypes for arabidopsis and wheat

Plant Methods 13 p117

Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s13007-017-0266-3

Wingen L. U., West C., Leverington M., Collier S., Orford S., Goram R., Yang C. Y., King J., Allen A. M., Burridge A., Edwards K. J., Griffiths S. (2017)

Wheat landrace genome diversity

Genetics 205(4) p1657-1676

Publisher’s version: 10.1534/genetics.116.194688

Farré A., Sayers L., Leverington-Waite M., Goram R., Orford S., Wingen L., Mumford C., Griffiths S. (2016)

Application of a library of near isogenic lines to understand context dependent expression of QTL for grain yield and adaptive traits in bread wheat.

BMC Plant Biology 16 p161

Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s12870-016-0849-6

Jones H., Lukac M., Brak B., Martinez-Eixarch M., Alhomedi A., Gooding M., Wingen L., Griffiths S. (2016)

Photoperiod sensitivity affects flowering duration in wheat

The Journal of Agricultural Science FirstView p1-12

Publisher’s version: 10.1017/S0021859616000125

View All

Simon Griffiths

  • Meluleki Zikhali Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Luzie Wingen Research Assistant
  • James Redfern Postgraduate Student
  • Simon Orford Research Assistant
  • Cathy Mumford Support Specialist
  • Dr Claire Lister Research Assistant
  • Michelle Leverington-Waite Research Assistant
  • Oscar Gonzalez Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Alba Farre Martinez Researcher
  • Dr Laura Evelyn Dixon Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Sarah Collier Research Assistant
  • Helga Ochagavia Visiting Worker


For media enquiries, please contact the JIC communications team 01603 450962, jic.communications@jic.ac.uk

Expertise: wheat, genetics, heading date, flowering time, height, canopy architecture, breeding, and marker assisted selection

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