HOW DOES WHOLE GENOME DUPLICATION ALTER PHENOTYPES? LESSONS FROM ARABIDOPSIS ABOUT CROPS AND CANCER
Polyploidy, when organisms have more than two copies of one chromosome, is a common occurrence in plants, and many major food crops are polyploid (e.g. potato, wheat, oilseed rape). In addition, genome instability, including polyploidy and aneuploidy, is among the major drivers of cancer in humans. Thus, understanding how polyploidy affects genetic programmes is of central importance to diverse areas of biology, ranging from crop development to human health.
Polyploid plants are often more tolerant to abiotic stresses such as cold and drought, but it remains unclear why polyploidy causes changes in plant phenotypes. It is easier to explain phenotypic changes in allopolyploids which arise through the combination of two distinct genotypes, due to the introduction of new genetic combinations. However, changes in phenotypes are also seen in recently created autopolyploids, which arise through genome duplication and theoretically contain the same genetic information as their diploid ancestors, except in higher dosage.
In this project, we will use existing autopolyploid lines (4n, 8n) of the diploid (2n) plant Arabidopsis thaliana, to investigate how genome doubling affects molecular and whole-plant phenotypes. The specific aims of the project are to investigate the role of genomic rearrangements on the initial generations after WGD, to investigate the impact of WGD on tolerance to abiotic stress, to determine how WGD influences RNA and protein expression using RNA-seq and quantitative proteomics, and to integrate these data sets to deduce the influence of the (epi)genome on protein expression and ultimately whole plant phenotype.
The project, based at Rothamsted Research and Bath University, will provide excellent opportunities for the student to learn a broad range of molecular skills and to develop quantitative and bioinformatics skills within an evolutionary plant science context.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement
We want to support diverse and inclusive work environments. We therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status. We welcome applications from individuals who have previously studied at any recognised Higher Education Institute and from a range of career paths (please refer to the SWBio DTP academic criteria for eligibility), including individuals who have previously trained in the sciences and are wanting to return to scientific research.
We particularly encourage applications from BAME* and mature (this is classed as 30+ years) individuals as these backgrounds are currently underrepresented within our student cohort.
UKRI have recently updated their policy for funded studentships which starts from the 2021/2022 academic year.
IMPORTANT: Please refer to the UKRI Full Eligibility Criteria alongside the information provided below.
Fully-funded studentships are available for Home students. To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have settled status, or
• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,
• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter
If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be classed as an International student.
A limited number (up to 30%) of UKRI fully-funded studentships are available through the SWBio DTP, that applicants who would be classed as an International student are eligible for. Please apply through the application route below for funding.
Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Masters degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.
In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or an equivalent qualification or experience is required.
Physics A-level (grade B and above)
Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant mathematical component*
*Significant mathematical component examples include; maths, statistics, bioinformatics.
Applicants must ensure they highlight their Maths background within their application and to upload any supporting evidence.
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.5 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable, please see http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/language-requirements/profile-c/.
UKRI-BBSRC funded studentship
A fully-funded four year SWBio DTP studentship will cover:
a stipend* (at the standard UKRI rate; £15,609 per annum for 2021-2022)
research and training costs
additional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month placement
* An enhanced stipend is available for students with a recognised veterinary degree qualification (£24,090 per annum for 2021-2022). There may also be enhanced stipends associated with projects that have a CASE partner (CASE projects are highlighted as *CASE in the project lists).