Graham’s research provides an understanding of the control of pairing and crossover between related chromosomes in wheat and enables the incorporation of genes from wild relatives into the wheat genome to provide beneficial traits for yield and resilience.
Graham is also working to understand the genes involved in the temperature sensitivity of meiosis which will be important for growing wheat in a warming environment.
- Wheat breeding
- Genetic recombination (crossover) in wheat
- The effect of temperature on meiosis
Inducing chromosomes derived from different wheat varieties to recombine is fundamental to plant breeding. Fertility of polyploid species, such as wheat and many flowering plants, depends on pairing and recombination at meiosis occurring only between true homologous chromosomes.
Pairing and crossover between the highly related, but more diverged homoeologous chromosomes in wheat results in reduced fertility.
Some 60 years ago, it was shown that chromosome 5B of hexaploid wheat carries a factor which suppresses crossover between related chromosomes in wheat, and in hybrids between wheat and wild relatives. This factor was termed ‘Ph1’.
Graham’s group developed the concept of cereal synteny and applied it to characterise this Ph1 factor suppressing crossover between related chromosomes of wheat.
Graham’s group also defined a second phenotype associated with Ph1, namely ‘the promotion of homologous chromosome pairing’.
Graham’s group showed that both ‘the suppression of related chromosome crossover (Ph1)’ and ‘the promotion of homologous pairing’ phenotypes were controlled by the same duplicated and diverged copy of the major meiotic gene, ZIP4, which had inserted into chromosome 5B on wheat’s polyploidisation.
In collaboration with Peter Shaw, cell biology approaches were also developed to investigate chromosome pairing and recombination in wheat in conjunction with the above studies.
The group is also involved in understanding the effect of temperature on wheat meiosis, and its subsequent effect on seed set.
Martin A,Alabdullah A,Moore G (2021)A separation-of-function ZIP4 wheat mutant allows crossover between related chromosomes and is meiotically stable
Alabdullah AK,Moore G,Martin AC (2021)A Duplicated Copy of the Meiotic Gene ZIP4 Preserves up to 50% Pollen Viability and Grain Number in Polyploid WheatBiologyPublisher's version: NA
Rey M. D., Martin A. C., Smedley M., Hayta S., Harwood W., Shaw P., Moore G. (2018)Magnesium Increases Homoeologous Crossover Frequency During Meiosis in ZIP4 (Ph1 Gene) Mutant Wheat-Wild Relative HybridsFrontiers in Plant SciencePublisher's version: doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00509