Dr Kay Trafford

Dr Kay Trafford
Programme Leader
+44 (0) 1223 342498

Research interests

We are interested in determinants of cereal grain quality, such as starch content and composition. To inform our work, we use natural and induced mutants of barley and wheat with altered grain quality.  Our current focus is on identification of genes that influence the following processes: 1) the determination of starch granule size and number, 2) the control of embryo growth, and 3) Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. To date, we have identified genes, B-GRANULE CONTENT 1 and LYSINE 3, respectively that control the first two of these processes.

The outputs of our academic work are grains with novel functional properties, such as a new form of wheat lacking B-type starch granules (B-lessT) and barley and wheat with nutrient-enriched grains (due to larger-than-normal embryos).  We are working with breeders and end-users to identify and exploit the novel functional properties of these cereals.

Research projects

BlessT: Wheat lacking B-type starch granules for improved functionality; Duration: 2018-2019; Partners: NIAB (lead), John Innes Centre; Funding: BBSRC Follow-on-Fund.

Designing Future Wheat; Duration: 2017-2022; Partners: John Innes Centre (lead), University of Bristol, The Earlham institute, EMBL-EBI, NIAB, University of Nottingham, Quadram Institute, Rothamsted research; Funding: BBSRC Strategic Programme.

Developing nutrient-enriched cereal grains with large embryos; Duration: 2019-2022; Partners: NIAB (lead), James Hutton Institute; Funding: BBSRC responsive mode.


Recent publications

A carbohydrate-binding protein, B-GRANULE CONTENT 1, influences starch granule size distribution in a dose-dependent manner in polyploid wheat. (2020). Chia T, Chirico M, King R, Ramirez-Gonzalez R, Saccomanno B, Seung D, Simmonds J, Trick M, Uauy C, Verhoeven T and Trafford K. Journal of  Experimental Botany 71: 105-115. 

TRA1: a locus responsible for controlling Agrobacterium-mediated transformability in barley. (2019) Orman-Ligeza B, Harwood W, Hedley PE, Hinchcliffe A, Macaulay M, Uauy C, Trafford K. BioRxiv

LYS3 encodes a prolamin-box-binding transcription factor that controls embryo growth in barley and wheat. (2019). Orman-Ligeza B, Borrill P, Chia T, Chirico M, Dolezel J, Drea S, Karafiátová M, Schatlowski N, Solomon CU, Steuernagel B, Wulff BBH, Uauy C, Trafford K. 

Barley lys3 mutants are unique amongst shrunken-endosperm mutants in having abnormally large embryos. (2018). Cook F, Hughes N, Nibau C, Orman-Ligeza B, Schatlowski N, Uauy C, Trafford K. Journal of Cereal Science 82: 16-24. 

Transfer of a starch phenotype from wild wheat to bread wheat by deletion of a locus controlling B-type starch granule content. (2017). Chia T, Adamski NM, Saccomanno B, Greenland A, Nash A, Uauy C, Trafford K. Journal of Experimental Botany 68: 5497–5509.