We are exploiting our understanding of the regulatory hierarchy controlling the floral transition to identify allelic variation in Brassica that can be used to breed new varieties that can cope with a changing climate.

This is a project headed by Dr Judith Irwin. Our primary focus has been on purple sprouting broccoli.

  • We have identified QTL for variation in crop maturity under controlled and field vernalization conditions
  • Allelic variation at  one key locus, BoFLC.C2, has been characterised through transgenic experiments in Arabidopsis
  • Nucleotide polymorphism at this locus is responsible for variation in heading date
  • These alleles are now being used  in breeding programmes to deliver new varieties

We are continuing our analysis in horticultural Brassicas in collaboration with plant breeders to inform the selection of varieties with defined vernalization responses most suited to future winter conditions. 

PhD students Emily Hawkes and Eleri Tudor are extending our analysis of the conservation of the vernalization mechanism between Arabidopsis and Brassica into polyploid oilseed rape.