In the latest round of its Linkage Grants scheme, the Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded staff from the Phenomics and Bioinformatics Research Centre a $400,000 research grant to develop improved techniques to identify wheat varieties that can retain good yields in stressful conditions. Led by Professor in Applied Mathematics and Director, Stan Miklavcic, the research will monitor and profile plant growth performance in drought and nutrient deficient environments helping to characterise and select better varieties of wheat for agricultural production. Senior Research Fellows in the PBRC, Dr Jinhai Cai, Dr Hamid Laga and Dr Andrew Jacobs are also Chief investigators on the project, along with colleagues from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG).
This funding announcement comes shortly after another success for the Centre, securing funding as a partner in the ARC Industry Transformation Research Hub for ”Genetic Diversity and Molecular Breeding for Wheat in a Hot and Dry Climate”. Professor Miklavcic is a Chief Investigator in the Research Hub along with colleagues from the University of Adelaide. This Research Hub, in partnership with wheat breeding companies, aims to deliver advanced technologies, germplasm and information in order to produce new stress tolerant varieties. Genetic diversity and novel traits will be introduced from exotic germplasm and high-throughput, field-phenotyping tools will be developed to assist in the selection of superior lines. This strategic research program is targeted toward the development of wheat with combined heat and drought tolerance and the maintenance of high grain protein.