Biography

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
  • ADAPTAWHEAT

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.