Understanding the determination of an important quality trait of citrus fruit at the molecular genetic level. (MARTIN_J17DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Start Date:  1st October 2017

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Prof. Cathie Martin

Project description: 
Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times; the best-known examples are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes. Most commercial citrus varieties are interspecific hybrids which are propagated vegetatively, meaning that breeding and crop improvement are very difficult. One of the most important traits in citrus fruit is acidity, which is a positive attribute in varieties such as lemon, but a negative trait in the true species, mandarin.

To understand the genetic determinants of fruit acidity at the molecular level, and thereby facilitate improvement through breeding where possible, we have started an investigation into the genetic determinants of fruit acidity in citrus. This studentship will extend our understanding of how this trait is determined, by generating mutants of key genes by genome editing, by developing a functional bioassay for acidity, and by using this to explore the activity of genes from different citrus germplasm accessions in determining fruit acidity. Analysis of rare and unusual citrus varieties would involve site visits to examine material growing in the field in China, the Mediterranean and the USA. 

UEA and NRP provide many courses to train students in new techniques, data handling, computational methods as well as transferable skills in paper and grant writing and presentation skills. The DTP studentship includes a 3 month secondment to work in an area unrelated to the PhD to develop additional transferrable skills and for broader experience for career development.

Person specification:  Minimum entry 2:1

Funding notes: Full Studentships cover a stipend (RCUK rate: £14,296pa – 2016/7), research costs and tuition fees at UK/EU rate, and are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Students from EU countries who do not meet the UK residency requirements may be eligible for a fees-only award. Students in receipt of a fees-only award will be eligible for a maintenance stipend awarded by the NRPDTP Bioscience Doctoral Scholarships, which when combined will equal a full studentship. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.

Details on eligibility for funding on the BBSRC website: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf

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