Professor Alison Bentley

Dr Alison Bentley
Director of Genetics and Breeding
01223 342382

Research interests

Alison leads NIAB's genetics and breeding department, within Cambridge Crop Research, working on a range of applied crop science projects. Alison joined NIAB in 2007 and prior to her current role led NIAB’s trait genetics research programme. Alison studied Agricultural Science at The University of Sydney, Australia where she also completed a PhD. Her work is focussed on understanding the genetic control of complex crop traits and in the application and integration of new breeding technologies for crop improvement.

At NIAB Alison leads the exploitation of novel ancestral genetic diversity for wheat improvement via the BBSRC funded cross-institute Designing Future Wheat Institute Strategic Programme. She is also involved in a wide-range of crop research and breeding projects in the UK and internationally. Alison is a Visiting Professor at The University of East Anglia and a member of the UK Plant Sciences Federation and Genetics Society committees. She is also a member of the Independent Steering Committee of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas.

Research projects

Designing Future Wheat: BBSRC-funded Cross Institute Strategic Programme supporting UK wheat research and impacts for breedingDuration: 2017-2022; Partners: John Innes Centre (lead), Rothamsted Research, Earlham Institute, Quadrum Institute, University of Bristol, University of Nottingham, NIAB; Funding: BBSRC (BB/P016855/1)

TIGR2ESS: Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies: Duration: 2017-2021; Partners: University of Cambridge (lead), NIAB, John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research, University of East Anglia, University of Essex, Centre for Global Equality, The British Dietetic Association and 19 higher education and research institutes and seven NGOs in India; Funding: BBSRC (BB/P027970/1)

Upscaling cowpea improvement for food security in Ghana: Duration: 2019-2020; Partners: NIAB (lead), University of Ghana, PBS International; Funding: Cambridge-Africa ALBORADA fund;

WRKY this way: a new way to tackle biotic & abiotic stress: Duration: 2019-2020: Partners: NIAB (lead), Durham University; Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Grand Challenges

N-Circle: Closed-loop cycling of Nitrogen in Chinese AgricultureDuration: 2016-2019; Partners: University of Aberdeen (lead), The University of Cambridge, ADAS, SRUC, NIAB, University of East Anglia and 5 higher education and research institutes in China; Funding: BBSRC (BB/N013484/1)

MillNETi: Millets and Nutritional Enhancement Traits for Iron bioavailability: Duration: 2019-202; Partners: University of Cambridge (lead), NIAB, Rothamsted Research, London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine, ICRISAT, Bahir Dar University; Funding: BBSRC (BB/S013954/1

DataHarvest: delivering large-scale research field trial capabilities to the UK crop R&D sector; Duration: 2019-2020; Partners: NIAB (lead); Funding: BBSRC (BB/S019596/1)

GIEC: Génotypes issus d’Idéotypes : sélection assistée par marqueurs et modèles du stade Epi 1 cm pour des blés tendres adaptés au Changement Climatique; Duration: 2016-2019; Partners:  ARVALIS (lead), NIAB, John Innes Centre, Agri-Obtentions, BASF, Florimond-Desprez, KWS-Momont, Secobra, Syngenta, INRA, Unisigma; Funding: FSOV France

PolyBléD : Quelles nouvelles polyploïdisations réaliser pour une meilleure adaptation du blé tendre aux contraintes à venir; Duration: 2018-2021; Partners: INRA (lead), NIAB, Agroscope, Agri-Obtentions, Florimond-Desprez, Limagrain, RAGT 2n, Syngenta, Unisigma; Funding: FSOV France

Yellowhammer: a multi-locis strategy for durable yellow rust resistance in wheat, in the face of a rapidly changing pathogen landscape; Duration: 2018-2022; Partners: NIAB (lead), AHDB, seven North European breeding companies; Funding: BBSRC (BB/R019231/1)

A UK-Pakistan partnership for translational crop improvement; Duration: 2019-2021; Partners: NIAB (lead), National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, CECOS University, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute, University of Agriculture Faisalabad; Funding: BBSRC (BB/S020705/1)

Wheat pan-genome; Duration: 2017-2020; Partners: Natural History Museum (lead), NIAB, Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre; Funding: BBSRC (BB/P0191741/1)


Recent publications

Swarbreck SM, Wang M, Wang Y, Kindred D, Sylvester-Bradley R, Shi W, Varinderpal-Singh, Bentley AR, Griffiths H (2019) A roadmap for lowering crop N requirement. Trends in Plant Science 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.06.006.

Edwards SM, Buntjer JB, Jackson R, Bentley AR, Lage J, Byrne E, Burt C, Jack P, Berry S, Flatman E, Poupard B, Smith S, Hayes C, Gaynor RC, Gorjanc G, Howell P, Ober E, Mackay IJ, Hickey JM (2019) The effects of training population design on genomic prediction accuracy in wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 132: 1943-1952.

Arora S, Steuernagel B, Chandramohan S, Long Y, Matny O, Johnson R, Enk J, Periyannan S, Asyraf Md Hatta M, Athiyannan N, Cheema J, Yu G, Kangara N, Ghosh S, Szabo LJ, Poland J, Bariana H, Jones JDG, Bentley AR, Ayliffe M, Olson E, Xu SS, Steffenson BJ, Lagudah E, Wulff BHB (2019) Resistance gene cloning from a wild crop relative by sequence capture and association genetics. Nature Biotechnology DOI:10.1038/s41587-018-0007-9

Clifton-Brown JC, Senior H, Purdy SJ, Horsnell R, Lankamp B, Müennekhoff A-K, Virk D, Guillemois E, Chetty V, Cookson A, Girdwood S, Clifton-Brown G, Tan MLMC, Awty-Carroll D, Bentley AR (2018) Investigating the potential of novel non-woven fabrics for efficient pollination control in plant breeding. PLOS ONE. 13 (9): e0204728.

Borah P, Das A, Milner M, Ali A, Bentley AR, Pandey R (2018) Long non-coding RNA as endogenous target mimics and exploration of their role in low nutrient stress tolerance in plants. Genes. 9, 459

Full publication list on Google Scholar, ORCID, Researchgate