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Dr Alison Bentley

Head of Genetics and Breeding

T: 01223 342382Dr Alison Bentley, NIAB
E: Alison Bentley
Twitter: @AlisonRBentley

Alison leads a team of 40+ scientists within NIAB’s Genetics & Breeding Department, 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.

An agricultural science graduate from The University of Sydney in Australia, where she also completed her PhD, Alison has a strong interest in the genotype x environment interactions controlling complex traits and in the application of genomics in the breeding of high yielding, climate resilient cereals. She has worked on a range of projects within NIAB’s flagship wheat pre-breeding programme, including research on characterising flowering time response and the exploitation of novel genetic diversity and genomics tools for wheat improvement. Alison is a strong proponent of the use of breeding technologies to accelerate the genetic improvement of arable crops and regularly interacts with industry on future technology applications. Dr Bentley is currently chair of the UK MonoGram small grain and grasses community and has been involved with the Wheat Initiative, an international partnership of private and public organisations engaged in global wheat research.

Current research projects:

Recent research projects:

  • Improved crop breeding programmes through advanced Pollination Control Bag materials technology
  • The BBSRC funded Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme (WISP)

Current PhD students:

Franziska Fischer
Funmi Ladejobi
Tobias Barber
Greg Reeves


Gaynor RC, Gorjanc G, Bentley AR, Ober ES, Howell P, Jackson R, Mackay IJ, Hickey JM (2017) A two-part strategy for using genomic selection to develop inbred lines. Crop Science doi: 10.2135/cropsci2016.09.0742.

Ladejobi O, Elderfield J, Gardner KA, Gaynor RC, HickeyJ, Hibberd JM, Mackay IJ, Bentley AR (2016) Maximising the potential of multi-parental crop populations. Applied and Translational Genomics 11:9-17.

Allen A, Winfield M, Burridge A, Downie R, Benbow H, Barker G, Wilkinson P, Coghill J, Waterfall C, Davassi A, Scopes G, Pirani A, Webster T, Brew F, Bloor C, Griffiths S, Bentley AR, Alda M, Jack P, Phillips A, Edwards KJ (2016) Characterisation of a Wheat Breeders’ Array suitable for high throughput SNP genotyping of global accessions of hexaploid bread wheat Triticum aestivum. Plant Biotechnology Journal in press.

Camargo AV, Mott R, Gardner KA, Mackay IJ, Corke F, Doonan JH, Kim JT, Bentley AR (2016) Determining phenological patterns associated with the onset of senescence in a wheat MAGIC mapping population. Frontiers in Plant Science 24, 7:1540.

Bentley AR, Mackay IJ (2016) Advances in wheat breeding techniques. In: Achieving sustainable cultivation of wheat, Ed Langridge P. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Ltd. In press.

Halliwell J, Borril P, Gordon A, Kowalczyk R, Luisa Pagano M, Saccomanno B, Bentley AR, Uauy C, Cockram J (2016) Systematic investigation of FLOWERING LOCUS T-like Poaceae gene families identifies the short-day expressed flowering pathway gene, TaFT3 in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Frontiers in Plant Science In press.

Novoselovic D, Bentley A, Simek R, Dvojkovic K, Sorrells M, Gosman N, Horsnell R, Drezner G, Satovic Z (2016) Characterising Croatian wheat germplasm diversity and structure within European context by DArT markers. Frontiers in Plant Science in press DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00184.

Winfield M, Allen A, Burridge A, Barker G, Benbow H, Wilkinson P, Coghill J, Waterfall C, Devassi A, Scopes G, Webster T, Brew F, Bloor C, King J, West C, Griffiths S, King I, Bentley A, Edwards K (2015) High density SNP genotyping array for hexaploid wheat and its secondary and tertiary gene pool. Plant Biotechnology Journal 14: 1195-1206.

Bassi FM, Bentley AR, Charmet G, Ortiz R, Crossa J (2015) Breeding schemes for the implementation of genomic selection in wheat (Triticum spp.) Plant Science 242: 23-26.

Abberton M, Batley J, Bentley A, Bryant J, Cai H, Cockram J, Costa de Oliveira A, Cseke L, Dempewolf H, De Pace C, Edwards D, Gepts P, Greenland A, Hall A, Henry R, Hori K, Howe G, Hughes S, Humphreys M, Lightfoot D, Marshall A, Mayes S, Nguyen H, Ogbonnaya F, Ortiz R, Paterson A, Tuberosa R, Valliyodan B, Varshney R, Yano M (2015) Global agricultural intensification during climate change: a role for genomics. Plant Biotechnology Journal 14: 1095-1098 DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12467.

Bentley AR, Horsnell R, Howell P, Gosman N, Howells R, Rose G, Barber T, Cockram J, Greenland A, Mackay I (2015) Optimising wheat flowering time for a changing climate. Aspects of Applied Biology – Breeding Plants to Cope with Future Climate Change 124: 23-28.

Kole C, Muthamilarasan M, Henry R, Edwards D, Sharma R, Abberton M, Batley J, Bentley A, Blakeney M, Bryant J, Cai H, Cakir M, Cseke LJ, Cockram J, Costa de Oliveira A, De Pace C, Dempewolf H, Ellison S, Gepts P, Greenland A, Hall A, Hori K, Howe GT, Hughes S, Humphreys MW, Iorizzo M, Ismail AM, Marshall A, Mayes S, Nguyen HT, Ogbonnaya FC, Ortiz R, Paterson AH, Simon PW, Tohme P, Tuberosa R, Valliyodan B, Varshney RK, Wullschleger SD, Yano M, Prasad M (2015) Application of genomics for generation of climate resilient crops: Progress and prospects. Frontiers in Plant Science 6:563.

Bentley AR, Scutari M, Gosman N, Faure S, Bedford F, Howell P, Cockram J, Rose GA, Barber T, Irigoyen J, Horsnell R, Pumfrey C, Winnie E, Schacht J, Beauchêne K, Praud S, Greenland A, Balding D, Mackay IJ (2014) Applying association mapping and genomic selection to the dissection of key traits in elite European wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 127: 2619-2633.

Bentley AR, Hori K, Yano M, Greenland A, Cockram J (2014) Flowering time. pp 59-62. In ‘Application of Genomics to the Production of Climate Resilient Crops: Challenges and opportunities’. International Climate Resilient Crops Genomics Consortium (ICRCGC) White Paper. D. Edwards, R. Henry, C. Kole (eds.).

Mackay IJ, Bansept-Basler P, Barber T, Bentley AR, Cockram J, Gosman N, Greenland AJ, HorsnellR, 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: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 4:1603-1610.

Zikhali M, Leverington-Waite M, Fish L, Simmonds J, Orford S, Wingen LU, Goram R, Gosman N, Bentley AR and Griffiths S (2014) Validation of a 1DL earliness per se (eps) flowering QTL in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). Molecular Breeding 34: 1023-1033.

Bentley AR, Jensen EF, Mackay IJ, Honicka H, Fladung M, Hori K, Yano M, Mullet JE, Armstead IP, Hayes C, Thorogood D, Lovatt A, Morris R, Pullen N, Mutasa-Gottgens E and Cockram J (2013). Flowering time. pp 1-66. In “Genomics and Breeding for Climate-Resilient Crops, Vol. 2”. C. Kole (ed.), Springer-Verlag. Berlin, Heidelberg.

Jones H, Gosman N, Horsnell R, Rose GA, Everest LA, Bentley AR, Tha S, Uauy C, Kowalski A, Novoselovic D, Simek R, Kobiljski B, Kondic-Spika A, Brbaklic L, Mitrofanova O, Chesnokov Y, Bonnett D and Greenland A (2013). Strategy for exploiting exotic germplasm using genetic, morphological, and environmental diversity: the Aegilops tauschii Coss. example. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 126: 1793-1808.

Bentley AR, Horsnell R, Werner CP, Turner AS, Rose GA, Bedard C, Howell P, Wilhelm EP, Mackay IJ, Howells RM, Greenland A, Laurie DA and Gosman N (2013). Short, natural, and extended photoperiod response in BC2F4 lines of bread wheat with different Photoperiod-1 (Ppd-1) alleles. Journal of Experimental Botany 64(7): 1783-1793.