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Dr James Cockram


Using UK elite wheat MAGIC and association mapping populations to dissect the genetics of brown rust resistance

Background: Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the UK’s most important crop. NIAB have developed Europe’s only publicly available wheat Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) population, generated by systematically crossing multiple parental lines over many generations (BBSRC grant BB/E007260/1). The resulting population of 1,000 progeny represents a unique platform for the genetic dissection of agronomic traits (Mackay & Powell 2007; Cavanagh et al 2007). NIAB’s MAGIC population has recently been genotyped with the state-of-the-art 90,000 Illumina iSelect wheat SNP chip. Furthermore, we possess a large wheat association mapping panle (500 lines) genotyped with the same 90k SNP chip.

Project aims: Previous studies in the MAGIC population have identified transgressive disease resistance to yellow rust, with the underlying QTL tractable to fine genetic mapping (to within a 3.6 cM interval). This project will deploy the MAGIC and AM populations to undertake detailed genetic dissection of host (wheat) resistance to brown rust. The project will utilise emerging wheat molecular tools (the physical map, genome survey sequence, TILLING populations) and comparative genetics towards fine-mapping wheat QTL controlling disease resistance. Breeder friendly genetic markers will be developed, as well as near isogenic lines, providing the basis for map-based gene cloning of wheat QTL.


  1. Mackay & Powell  2007, Trend Plant Sci 12:57-63.
  2. Cavanagh et al 2007 Curr Opin Plant Biol 11:1-7.

Second supervisor:

Ian Mackay