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Waite Research Institute Webinar Series: Dr Anh Pham & Dr Xiujuan Yang

Dec 3, 2020, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


The WRI is pleased to announce that our research seminar series is BACK – although now online! Register now to join in from your office, couch – anywhere you like!

This webinar series showcases the excellent science our members, affiliates and collaborators are undertaking across the agriculture, food and wine sectors. Expand your network and find new collaborators!

Everyone is welcome – webinars are generally scheduled at 11am on Thursdays, with some exceptions. Registration is required.

Dr Anh Pham and Dr Xiujuan Yang

School of Agriculture, Food & Wine

WHEN: Thursday 3rd December 2020, 11am

Dr Anh Pham – Utilisation of novel genetic diversity to increase barley yield nationally


The domestication process via breeding and selection has caused a genetic bottleneck in the elite germplasm of many crops including barley, which will limit future genetic gains in crop productivity. Research outcomes from earlier research identified wild barley alleles from the HEB-25 population that could lead to enhanced yield potential by identifying germplasm that has improved biomass production under water-limiting environments, and higher grain number per ear or thousand grain weight than the current yield-leading varieties such as Compass, LaTrobe and Granger. Incorporating such beneficial alleles into elite Australian barley varieties will lead to the development of a stronger Australian barley germplasm specifically tailored for Australia’s variable environments and with enhanced resilience over and above what is currently available. Field validation of the developed germplasm with the wild beneficial alleles across a range of environments in Australia will ensure that private breeding programs can move forward with confidence in utilising such materials.

About the speaker

Dr Anh Pham is currently a post-doc at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide. She is working on a GRDC-funded project with the goal to test a set of barley germplasm for yield potential in a range of high-low rainfall environments in Australia. She obtained her PhD from the University of Missouri in USA in 2011, working on modification of fatty acid composition in soybean oil to mirror that of olive oil through conventional breeding. She completed her MS in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois in 2008. Anh’s interests include plant genetics and development of crops with improved performance under abiotic and biotic stresses.

Dr Xiujuan Yang – Pectin Methylesterases Control the Longitudinal Growth of Ovule and Grain in Barley 


In cereal crops, the female reproductive organ, pistil, is essential for the production of grains. The grain size of cereal crops is one of the important factors contributing to the yield. Generally, the final grain size is determined by the coordination of genetic factors between zygotic control and maternal control. The maternal control mainly comes from the spikelet hull, lemma and palea, determining the storage capacity of grains. Besides, the ovary size appears positively corelated with grain size and/or grain weight, however, the mechanisms underlying are uncovered. Here, based on tissue specific transcriptome profiling, we selected and analyze the function of two pectin methylesterase (PME) genes in barley ovule, Ovule Pectin Modifier1 (OPM1) and OPM2. OPM1 and OPM2 both encode apoplastic proteins and predominantly express in the nucellar cells of barley ovule. The double mutant opm1opm2 showed significantly lower level of de-esterified pectin in the nucellus and morphological change in nucellar cells. At anthesis stage, compared with wild type, opm1opm2 mutant produced longer ovules and ovaries, likely due to the reduced cellular rigidity. Notably, mirroring the change in ovule/ovary length, the grain length of opm1opm2 mutant increased accordingly. Expressing a PME inhibitor gene in the nucellus, driven by barley MADS31 promoter, reproduced the increasement of length in ovule, ovary and grain. Thus, we demonstrate the ovule and/or ovary could exert maternal control on grain size by adjustment of tissue elasticity and provide new insights of yield improvement for cereal crops.

About the Speaker

Xiujuan Yang received her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2018 and is in her early career as a postdoc investigating plant reproduction and seeds development.

Register at: https://adelaide.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9_Vkx6A7Q_aPAtyiP2Gbxg

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