Safeguarding our daily bread from wheat rust diseases


Project Description

Wheat rusts are destructive diseases of wheat, which throughout recorded history have caused devastating epidemics almost wherever wheat is grown. The wild ancestors of domesticated wheat represent a rich source of genetic variation with huge potential for improving disease resistance. Deploying this genetic diversity into elite, cultivated wheat by traditional breeding takes many years for just a single resistance gene. However, the molecular identification (cloning) of resistance genes opens up new possibilities for accelerated breeding by marker-assisted selection and genetic engineering [Refs. 1,2]. The Wulff lab has established a suite of molecular plant breeding technologies that significantly reduce costs and accelerate plant growth [Refs. 3,4], gene discovery [Refs. 5,6,7,8,9] and gene cloning [Refs. 7,8,9,10]. You will use our tools, structured germplasm, and sequence resources to characterize novel candidate rust resistance genes. You will be supervised by Brande Wulff and receive training and co-supervision from a team of Postdocs and PhD students with expertise in bioinformatics, mathematics, scripting, genetics, plant pathogen interactions, wheat husbandry and crossing. KAUST is a vibrant place to discuss and plan science. You will become part of the larger KAUST community and alumni, which we hope will have lasting positive impacts on your future career. References [1] Dhugga & Wulff (2018). Science 361:451-452. [2] Luo et al (2021) Nature Biotechnology 39:561-566. [3] Watson et al (2017) Nature Plants 4:23-29. [4] Ghosh et al (2018) Nature Protocols 13:2944-2963. [5] Steuernagel et al (2015) Bioinformatics 31:1665-7. [6] Steuernagel et al (2020) Plant Physiology 183:468-482. [7] Arora et al (2018) Nature Biotechnology 2:139-143. [8] Gaurav et al. (2020) bioRxiv [9] Steuernagel et al (2016). Nature Biotechnology 34:652-5. [10] Sánchez-Martín et al (2016). Genome Biology 17:221.
Program - Plant Science
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Center for Desert Agriculture
Field of Study - Plant genetics

About the

Brande Wulff

Brande Wulff

Desired Project Deliverables

Research experience including learning of one or more techniques employed in the lab, the generation of original data, design of figure(s), and presentation of results at lab meeting.