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Dr Phil Howell

Programme Leader - Cereals Pre-BreedingDr Phil Howell

T: +44 (0)1223 342488
E: Phil Howell

Phil has over 20 years experience in crop genetic improvement within both the public and private sectors, including ten years breeding wheat at Syngenta which led to several varieties including ‘Duxford’, ‘Gallant’ and ‘Denman’. He has been part of NIAB’s cereal pre-breeding team since 2007, with particular involvement in three major pre-breeding projects funded by the BBSRC Crop Science Initiative: Ppd pre-breeding (a dissection of flowering time, and exploitation of CIMMYT resynthesised wheat material), the Smart Carbohydrate Centre (development of UK-adapted recombinant spring barley lines with novel starch characteristics) and developing MAGIC populations in wheat.

Current projects include WISH (a BBSRC Super Follow-On Fund project working with commercial wheat breeders KWS, Limagrain and RAGT to further explore the potential of  SHW-derived lines developed within the Ppd pre-breeding project) and the BBSRC public-good wheat pre-breeding programme, LoLa-WISP (

Recent publications

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

Mackay IJ, Bansept-Basler P, Barber T, Bentley AR, Cockram J, Gosman N,. Greenland AJ, Horsnell R, 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 4:1603-1610

Scutari, M., P. Howell, D.J. Balding, and I.J. Mackay (2014) Multiple Quantitative Trait Analysis Using Bayesian Networks. Genetics 198:129-137

TP Howard, B Fahy, F Leigh, P Howell, W Powell, A Greenland, K Trafford and AM Smith (2014). Use of advanced recombinant lines to study the impact and potential of mutations affecting starch synthesis in barley. J Cer Sci 59:196-202

P Howell, F Leigh, R Bates, N Gosman, K Trafford, W Powell, AM Smith and A Greenland (2014). Rapid marker-assisted development of advanced recombinant lines from barley starch mutants. Mol Breed 33: 243-248

AR Bentley, R Horsnell, CP Werner, AS Turner, GA Rose, C Bedard, P Howell, EP Wilhelm, IJ Mackay, RM Howells, A Greenland, DA Laurie and N Gosman (2013). Short, natural, and extended photoperiod response in BC2F4 lines of bread wheat with different Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1) alleles. J Exp Bot 64: 1783-93

T P Howard, B Fahy, A Craggs, R Mumford, F Leigh, P Howell, A Greenland and AM Smith (2012). Barley mutants with low rates of endosperm starch synthesis have low grain dormancy and high susceptibility to preharvest sprouting.  New Phytologist 194: 158-167.