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PhD Studentship: Defining and exploiting potato diversity for pest and disease resistance using diploid genetics (JONES_S19DTP)

University of East Anglia - School of Biological Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th October 2018
Closes: 26th November 2018

Location The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich
Start date: 1/10/2019
Closing date: 26/11/2018
No. of positions available: 1
Hours: Full-time
Contract: Temporary

Supervisor Jonathan Jones

Project description

Pests and diseases reduce crop yields, requiring agrichemical sprays. We aim to replace agrichemicals with genetic resistance for pest and disease control. This project involves a novel approach to understand and use potato diversity for disease resistance using newly-available self-compatible diploid potato lines. Tetraploid lines carry useful variation for pest and disease resistance, but genetic analysis in tetraploids is difficult. Using appropriate crosses, the student will use diploid genetics to define and clone potato leaf roll virus (PLRV) and nematode resistance genes, and will use genome editing to accelerate breeding such genes into useful diploids and improve potato traits. We will also use CRISPR/Cas9 editing for diploid potato improvement and test gene "knock-ins" via homologous recombination. We work closely with CIP (Peru) and James Hutton Institute, Dundee on virus and nematode resistance and potato molecular genetics, and with who develop potato diploid lines.

The student will learn skills in genetics, molecular biology, disease resistance, tissue culture, DNA sequence capture and assembly (RenSeq) and associated bioinformatics, GoldenGate cloning, and genome editing using CrispR/Cas9. Applicants should have a strong interest in plant genetics and genetic diversity, in plant disease resistance and in modern crop improvement.


Velasquez (2007) 

Witek (2016) 

Chen (2018) 

Tomlinson (2018) 

Taylor (2018) 

Cermak (2015) 

Lindhout (2016) 

Person Specification UK 2:1 & English Language (6.5 overall, 6 in each section)

Funding notes For funding eligibility guidance, please visit our website: Full Studentships cover a stipend (UKRI rate: £14,777pa – 2018/9), 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. To be eligible students must meet the EU residency requirements.  

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (NRPDTP). Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed as part of the studentship competition. Candidates will be interviewed on either the 8th, 9th or 10th January 2019. 

The NRP DTP offers postgraduates the opportunity to undertake a 4-year research project whilst enhancing professional development and research skills through a comprehensive training programme. You will join a vibrant community of world-leading researchers. All NRPDTP students undertake a three-month professional internship (PIPS) during their study. The internship offers exciting and invaluable work experience designed to enhance professional development. Full support and advice will be provided by our Professional Internship team. Students with, or expecting to attain, at least an upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. 

 For further information and to apply, please visit our website: 

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