Contact: David Lee
In addition to being a staple global crop, rice is also an excellent experimental organism to study the mechanisms and processes involved in crop domestication. Access to a small, sequenced genome provides new opportunities to investigate fundamental questions that are highly pertinent to the characterisation, maintenance and deployment of genetic resources. A better understanding of rice domestication and its evolution in Europe will create new opportunities to identify and manipulate beneficial alleles, provide a scientific basis for the management of rice genetic resources and enhance our understanding of the evolutionary genomics of a major crop species.
Within Eurigen, NIAB will interrogate genetic diversity in rice using a global approach with microsatellite markers. Data from this screening process would provide an assessment of the overall diversity of European rice and may identify important domestication genes using selection sweep, the genetic bottleneck effects of domestication exerted through selection. In conjunction, short range sequence and microsatellite haplotype analyses around two key domestication genes, qSH1 and Rc, that are responsible for seed shattering and red pericarp, respectively. These studies will provide insight into the effects of selection on the range and extent of linkage disequilibrium.
Funding: The European Commission - DG Agriculture and Rural Development within the AGRI GEN RES program for conservation, characterisation, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture.
Collaborating Institutions: Parco Tecnologico Padano Foundation (FPTP), CRA - Unità di Ricerca per la Risicoltura (CRA-RIS), Italy; Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD), France; National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF), Greece; Facultade di Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL); Portugal; National Institute of Agriculture Botany (NIAB), UK.