Professor Claire Domoney

Project Leader Molecules from Nature


Claire works on the molecular and genetic control of seed traits in pea using mutant populations and natural germplasm to provide novel genetic variation.

Her research is linked to understanding the impact of seed composition on human health, e.g. the digestibility of pea protein and increasing resistant starch, while determining the effects on plant growth, yield and pest tolerance.

Claire’s research also investigates the regulation of processes associated with senescence, specifically the loss of chlorophyll from seeds.

  • Molecular and genetic control of seed metabolism in legumes
  • Altering the digestibility and composition of seed protein and starch
  • Field trials of novel pea germplasm to understand effects on yield and pest tolerance

Claire’s laboratory is engaged in research aimed at understanding genes and processes involved in determining seed quality traits in Pisum sativum L. (pea).

Pea is the foremost European legume crop, with a variety of food and feed uses, and provides an important and valuable break crop in rotations. Traits of importance to industry include overall composition, where sugar, starch and protein are of primary importance.

For food markets, visual traits can have a large economic impact in terms of return to the growers.

The group use a range of tools and resources in order to understand the molecular and genetic control of seed traits.

Novel germplasm is provided by the Pisum collection at in our Germplasm Resource Unit, and from mutagenised lines which can now be screened very rapidly to provide radically different genetic variation. These variants allow us to unravel why particular processes occur, such as the rapid loss of seed colour from seeds of many commercial cultivars. Several proteins in seeds have poor nutritional value; elimination of these may impact positively on both plant and seed traits.