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

Zhou J., Tardieu F., Pridmore T., Doonan J., Reynolds D., Hall N., Griffiths S., Cheng T., Zhu Y., Wang X., Jiang D., Ding Y. (2018)

Plant phenomics: history, present status and challenges

Journal of Nanjing Agricultural University 41 p580-588

Publisher’s version: 10.7685/jnau.201805100

Prieto P., Ochagavía H., Savin R., Griffiths S., Slafer G. A. (2018)

Dynamics of floret initiation/death determining spike fertility in wheat as affected by Ppd genes under field conditions.

Journal of Experimental Botany 69 p2633-2645

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/ery105

Ochagavía H., Prieto P., Savin R., Griffiths S., Slafer G. (2018)

Dynamics of leaf and spikelet primordia initiation in wheat as affected by Ppd-1a alleles under field conditions.

Journal of Experimental Botany 69 p2621-2631

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/ery104

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

Winfield M. O., Allen A. M., Wilkinson P. A., Burridge A. J., Barker G. L. A., Coghill J., Waterfall C., Wingen L., Griffiths S., Edwards K. J. (2018)

High-density genotyping of the A.E. Watkins Collection of hexaploid landraces identifies a large molecular diversity compared to elite bread wheat.

Plant Biotechnology Journal 16 p165-175

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/pbi.12757

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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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