Genes in the Environment

Genes in the Environment is a research programme which aims to develop a better understanding of how a plant’s environment influences growth and development, through the regulation of and variation in the plants’ genes.

By understanding key processes, such as how plants grow and shape themselves, control their flowering time and adapt to changing environmental conditions, we can help breed crops that are more resilient and productive in a wider range of growing conditions.

Crop plants are strongly influenced by changes in temperature, weather and other environmental factors. Variable growing conditions and extreme environments often cause crop failure and yield losses.

Climate change is causing increasingly unstable and variable environmental conditions, which makes growing crops to feed the world’s expanding population more challenging. This can lead to unpredictable supplies of important food crops, volatile markets and food prices, and in some parts of the world social unrest and famine.

Improving our crop productivity and making our crops more resilient has never been more pressing or important.

Our research uses a wide range of plants in differing environments.  To understand the role temperature plays in influencing plant growth and development we can look at plant growth both in controlled environments and in the field.

Research in Genes in the Environment uses a range of plants such as,

  • Key UK crop plants; brassica (including broccoli and oilseed rape) and wheat
  • Experimental model species including Arabidopsis, Capsella and Antirrhinum

Genes in the Environment is funded by the BBSRC.