Azahara’s research focuses on wheat meiosis, particularly in understanding recombination, with the aim of facilitating the transfer of interesting characters from related species.
She is also interested in understanding the effect of temperature on wheat meiosis and its subsequent effect on seed set. During the last eight years, Azahara has worked on the Ph1 locus in wheat, which ensures that recombination only occurs between homologous chromosomes and not between chromosomes from the related (homoeologous) genomes.
The Moore Lab have recently revealed that a copy of the meiotic gene ZIP4, inserted into this locus, is responsible for the effect on recombination. Azahara’s interest now is focused on understanding the genes involved in the temperature sensitivity of meiosis during male reproductive development, which will be important for growing wheat in a warming environment. To achieve this, she will focus on chromatin structure and the study of different meiotic proteins involved in all these processes, using mainly immunolabelling and fluorescence in situ hybridisation techniques.
Azahara’s is also interested in pollen development and male sterility in wheat. During her PhD, she worked on the development of a new male sterility system in wheat using the cytoplasm of a wild barley (Hordeum chilense), aimed at establishing a viable wheat hybrid system. Since then, she maintains an interest in the effect of environmental stresses on male reproductive development and fertility.