NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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Crop Transformation

Contact: Emma Wallington or

From 2005-2010 the National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust invested £5 million to develop research in genetic resources, pre-breeding, crop genomics, wheat synthetics, association genetics, population development and transgenic modification of crop plants. Members of the Crop Transformation group have many years experience with various crop transformation systems including wheat, barley, rice and oilseed rape plus various selection systems. More information on crop transformation services.

We provide the most efficient wheat transformation pipeline available in Europe.GM Winter Wheat We currently use two licensed methods to offer high throughput wheat transformation for both research and commercial applications. Efficiencies of over 30% are now achieved with hexaploid spring wheat and we can produce 3000 independent wheat transformants per year in our facilities. To provide researchers with alternative wheat varieties for the study of traits such as disease resistance, we have assessed the transformation potential of UK adapted wheat varieties. Thirteen spring types and 26 winter types have been successfully transformed. This increases the relevance of this technology for UK agriculture.

We are happy to collaborate with researchers within the plant science community, to develop projects leading to grant applications. We can provide wheat transformation ranging from 1 construct producing 30 independent transformed lines to much larger scale experiments. We have molecular and bioinformatic expertise within the team, and are happy to develop new vectors in-house, or participate in the design of constructs as necessary. We confirm that plantlets are transgenic by PCR or QPCR copy number analysis for the presence of the nptII selectable marker gene as appropriate. IDna Genetics also operates a service to determine the number of copies of transgenes in transformed plants, and to determine the zygosity of plants in subsequent generations. Go to g-Count for further information on zygosity testing.

In 2012 our Community Resource for Wheat Transformation project was funded for five years by the BBSRC to provide UK researchers with wheat transformation for 50 genes, free of charge. See the Community Resource for Wheat Transformation for further details and an application form.

We also provide a contract wheat transformation service to commercial organisations, and are able to provide large scale transformation experiment capacity as required. We can evaluate customers’ proprietary selection systems or germplasm in transformation experiments as appropriate.

NIAB Research has interests in cereal disease resistance, novel traits and prebreeding targets. Our crop transformation capability allows us to validate candidate genes at an early stage, in a time and cost effective manner prior to their incorporation into TILLING, ecoTILLING or traditional breeding programmes, in addition to commercial opportunities for transgenic crops.


• Cambridge-India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen 2016-2019
• Root type contribution to phosphate nutrition of rice during asymbiosis and interaction with symbiotic fungi 2016-2019
• Regulation of the male germline in cereal crops by somatic companion cells 2016-2019
• Using flux control analysis to improve oilseed rape 2014-2017
• 13 ERA-CAP: Functional characterisation and validation of nonhost components in Triticeae species for durable resistance  against fungal diseases 2014-2017
• Engineering Wheat for Takeall Resistance 2014-2018
• Pre-breeding for durable resistance to rust diseases in hexaploid wheat 2013-2016
• Community Resource for Wheat Transformation 2012-2017
• Analysis of the mechanism of cytoskeletal reorganisation in plants in response to pathogenic fungi 2011-2014
• Integrated transcriptome and genetic analysis of early events determining tissue susceptibility in the Claviceps purpurea - wheat interaction 2009-2013
• ERA-PG: Pattern recognition receptors: discovery function and application in crops for durable disease control 2009-2012

Recent Publications

• Perochon A, Jianguang J, Kahla A, Arunachalam C, Scofield S, Bowden B, Wallington E, and Doohan F (2015). TaFROG encodes a Pooideae orphan protein that interacts with SnRK1 and enhances resistance to the mycotoxigenic fungus Fusarium graminearum. Plant Physiology, 169: 2895-2906

• Smulders MJM, Jouanin A, Schaart J, Visser RGF, Cockram J, Leigh F, Wallington E, Boyd L A, van den Broeck H C, van der Meer I M, Gilissen LJWJ (2015). Development of wheat varieties with reduced contents of coeliac-immunogenic epitopes through conventional and GM strategies. Proc 28th Meeting Working Group on Prolamin Analysis and Toxicity (PWG). Ed Peter Koehler. 25-27th September, 2015, Nantes, France

• Gou JY, Wu K, Wang X, Cantu D, Uauy C, Dobon-Alonso A, Midorikawa T, Inoue K, Sánchez J, Fu D, Li K, Blechl A, Wallington EJ, Fahima T, Meeta M, Epstein L, Dubcovsky J. (2015). Wheat Stripe Rust Resistance Protein WKS1 Triggers Cell Death by Reducing Reactive Oxygen Detoxification. Plant Cell 27:1755-1770

• Schoonbeek H, Wang H, Stefanato FL, Craze M, Bowden S, Wallington EJ, Zipfel C, Ridout CJ. (2015). Arabidopsis EF-Tu receptor enhances bacterial disease resistance in transgenic wheat. New Phytologist, 206 (2): 606–613

• Segovia V, Hubbard A, Craze M, Bowden S, Wallington EJ, Bryant R, Greenland A, Bayles R, Uauy C. (2014). Yr36 confers partial resistance at temperatures below 18°C to UK isolates of Puccinia striiformis. Phytopathology, 104 (8): 871-878