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Dr Alison Bentley

Director of Genetics and BreedingAlison Bentley

T: 01223 342382
E: Alison Bentley

Dr Alison Bentley joined NIAB in 2007 and currently leads its trait genetics research programme.

On 23rd March 2016 NIAB announced that Dr Bentley had been appointed to its new Director of Genetics and Breeding, taking up her post on 4th April 2016.

An agricultural science graduate from The University of Sydney, where she also completed her PhD, Dr Bentley has a strong interest in the genotype x environment interactions controlling complex traits and in the application of genomics in the breeding of high yielding, climate resilient cereals. She has worked on a range of projects within NIAB’s flagship wheat pre-breeding programme, including research on characterising flowering time response and the exploitation of novel genetic diversity and genomics tools for wheat improvement. Dr Bentley is currently chair of the UK MonoGram small grain and grasses community and has been involved with the Wheat Initiative, an international partnership of private and public organisations engaged in global wheat research.

Current research projects:


Novoselovic D, Bentley A et al. (2016) Characterising Croatian wheat germplasm diversity and structure within European context by DArT markers. Frontiers in Plant Science in press DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00184.

Winfield M, Allen A, Burridge A, Barker G, Benbow H, Wilkinson P, Coghill J, Waterfall C, Devassi A, Scopes G, Webster T, Brew F, Bloor C, King J, West C, Griffiths S, King I, Bentley A, Edwards K (2015) High density SNP genotyping array for hexaploid wheat and its secondary and tertiary gene pool. Plant Biotechnology Journal in press.

Bassi FM, Bentley AR et al. (2015) Breeding schemes for the implementation of genomic selection in wheat (Triticum spp.) Plant Science in press.

Abberton M, Batley J, Bentley A et al. (2015) Global agricultural intensification during climate change: a role for genomics. Plant Biotechnology Journal [in press].

Kole C, Muthamilarasan M, Henry R, Edwards D, Sharma R, Abberton M, Batley J, Bentley A et al. (2015) Application of genomics for generation of climate resilient crops: Progress and prospects. Frontiers in Plant Science 6: 563.

Bentley AR, Scutari M, Gosman N, Faure S, Bedford F, Howell P, Cockram J, Rose GA, Barber T, Irigoyen J, Horsnell R, Pumfrey C, Winnie E, Schacht J, Beauchêne K, Praud S, Greenland A, Balding D, Mackay IJ (2014) Applying association mapping and genomic selection to the dissection of key traits in elite European wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics DOI 10.1007/s00122-014-2403-y.

Bentley AR, Hori K, Yano M, Greenland A, Cockram J (2014) Flowering time. pp 59-62. In ‘Application of Genomics to the Production of Climate Resilient Crops: Challenges and opportunities’. International Climate Resilient Crops Genomics Consortium (ICRCGC) White Paper. D. Edwards, R. Henry, C. Kole (eds.). Available for download at

Bentley AR, Horsnell R, Howell P, Gosman N, Howells R, Rose G, Barber T, Cockram J, Greenland A, Mackay IJ (2014) Optimising wheat flowering time for a changing climate. Aspects of Applied Biology in press.

Mackay IJ, Bansept-Basler P, Barber T, Bentley AR, CockramJ, Gosman N, Greenland AJ, HorsnellR, Howells R,  O’Sullivan D, Rose GA, Howell P (2014) An eight-parent Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross population for winter-sown wheat: creation, properties and validation. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 4: 1603-1610.

Zikhali M, Leverington-Waite M, Fish L, Simmonds J, Orford S, Wingen LU, Goram R, Gosman N, Bentley AR and Griffiths S (2014) Validation of a 1DL earliness per se (eps) flowering QTL in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). Molecular Breeding DOI10.1007/s11032-014-0094-3.

Bentley AR, Jensen EF,  Mackay IJ, Honicka H, Fladung M, Hori K, Yano M,  Mullet JE, Armstead IP, Hayes C, Thorogood D, Lovatt A, Morris R, Pullen N, Mutasa-Gottgens E and Cockram J (2013). Flowering time. pp 1-66. In “Genomics and Breeding for Climate-Resilient Crops, Vol. 2”. C. Kole (ed.), Springer-Verlag. Berlin, Heidelberg.

Jones H, Gosman N, Horsnell R, Rose GA, Everest LA, Bentley AR, Tha S, Uauy C, Kowalski A, Novoselovic D, Simek R, Kobiljski B, Kondic-Spika A, Brbaklic L, Mitrofanova O, Chesnokov Y, Bonnett D and Greenland A (2013). Strategy for exploiting exotic germplasm using genetic, morphological, and environmental diversity: the Aegilops tauschii Coss. example. Theoretical and Applied Genetics DOI 10.1007/s00122-013-2093-x.

Bentley AR, Horsnell R, Werner CP, Turner AS, Rose GA, Bedard C, Howell P,  Wilhelm EP, Mackay IJ, Howells RM, Greenland A, Laurie DA and Gosman N (2013). Short, natural, and extended photoperiod response in BC2F4 lines of bread wheat with different Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1) alleles. Journal of Experimental Botany DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert038.

Wright DG, Khangura R, Loughman R, Bentley AR and Fosu-Nyako J (2012) First record of Gibberella zeae and Gibberella coronicola on millet in western Australia. Australasian Plant Disease Notes 7: 19-21.

Summerell BA, Leslie JF, Liew ECY, Laurence MH, Bullock S, Petrovic T, Bentley AR, Howard CG, Peterson SA, Walsh J and Burgess LW (2011) Fusarium species associated with plants in Australia. Fungal Diversity 46: 1-27.

Bentley AR, Turner AS, Gosman N, Leigh F, Maccaferri M, Dreisigacker S, Greenland A and Laurie DA (2011) The frequency of photoperiod insensitive Ppd-A1a alleles in tetraploid, hexaploid and synthetic hexaploid wheat germplasm. Plant Breeding 130: 10-15.

Harrow SA, Farrokhi-Nejad R, Pitman AR, Scott IAW, Bentley AR, Hide C and  Cromey MG (2010) Characterisation of New Zealand Fusarium populations using a polyphasic approach differentiates the F. avenaceum/F. acuminatum/F. tricinctum species complex in cereal and grassland systems. Fungal Biology 114: 293-311

Bentley AR, Milgroom MG, Leslie JF, Summerell BA and Burgess LW (2009) Spatial aggregation in Fusarium pseudograminearum populations from the Australian grain belt. Plant Pathology 58: 23-32.

Bentley AR, Summerell BA and Burgess LW (2008) Sexual compatibility in Fusarium pseudograminearum (Gibberella coronicola). Mycological Research 112: 1101-1106.

Bentley AR, Leslie JF, Liew ECY, Burgess LW and Summerell BA (2008) Genetic structure of Fusarium pseudograminearum populations from the Australian grain belt. Phytopathology 98: 250-255.

Bentley AR, Petrovic T, Griffiths SP, Burgess LW and Summerell BA (2007) Crop pathogens and other Fusarium species associated with Austrostipa aristiglumis. Australasian Plant Pathology 36: 434-438.

Bentley AR, Tunali B, Nicol JM, Burgess LW and Summerell BA (2006) A survey of Fusarium species associated with wheat and grass stem bases in northern Turkey. Sydowia 58: 163-177.

Bentley AR, Cromey MG, Farrokhi-Nejad R, Leslie JF, Summerell BA and Burgess LW (2006) Fusarium crown and root rot pathogens associated with wheat and grass stem bases on the South Island of New Zealand. Australasian Plant Pathology 35:495-502.