UK, Partner, Wales discussed on The Science Show

The Science Show


Andrew lloyd gig as the leadership award. He's just one to improve crops around the world using genetics and he's ustralian trained at the university of adelaide but now in with well the future leaders fellowship is a program that was established by uk. Awry who oversees. All of the research for funding in the uk and they goal is really to back the next generation of future leaders in research and innovation. And it's not limited to any particular raymond. Which is the wonderful thing about. It said it's artists architects lawyer as physicists. Geneticists everything sort of across the board. And they're looking for people that are going to take on ambitious new projects and take those in new directions and it also provides an opportunity for funding. That might not necessarily be seen as backup by some of the more traditional funding bodies. And it's quite an exciting program. Whom will you lead scientists scientists. Yes i'll be assembling a team of scientists over the next couple of months in the end there'll be about four of us employed on this particular program and then we'll be looking to recruit more students as we go through and then there's elements of community engagement. So that will be run locally here and by here you mean land of my fathers. You'll be doing it from wales from wales. Yes that's very good. Collaboration got tremendous history in agriculture and cellular research. It does in fact where i'm based is the site of what to be because the welsh plant breeding tender that over one hundred years ago and has been running a plant breeding program continually since then. And now it's been brought within the fold wider everest with university. Your main field of course is looking at ways in which you can look at the taylor division in plants to see whether new kinds of crops or crops which have been established but need to be improved. How you can develop more of those at more or less what. Your plan is yes. Alamein focus is looking cell division cold. Maya's which this television that generates sex cells so sperm cells are excels that go on to form the next generation and so my isis really determined how genes get passed down to the next generation. And so for that reason down the pins all of breeding essentially. Do you want to speed up. Yes that the civeted self but some of the processes that occur within it so the unique thing about meyers is that in each of ourselves. We have two copies of every one that we inherited from another one we inherited from father and the early stage of my offices. The sort of pairs of chromosomes a a dancing around trying to find their true partner and when they find that true partner they lineup and in this process that takes place called recombination. Where these pairs of chromosomes swap segments. And then we have the division and so one chromosome hits to end up in one cell. The other chromosome ends up in the each of these. Those now has only one copy of chromosome which gets on. But that single chromosome is now a camera patchwork of sequences some of which were inherited from the and some of which were inherited from the father. So this creates these new combinations of traits that essentially generating this new diversity and so get variety because you get variety you get some animals some plants which can suit their environment better than others and then you get selection but what you're doing is breeding. You're trying to make it happen with a goal in mind. Yes that's right goal in mind. So the goal of plant breeding essentially or any breeding for that matter is to take the traits of two parents and combine those into a single new variety. That's got all the beneficial traits that were previously in those two parents. And so that requires this mixing of traits on the chromosomes that occurs. During my justin cases any misapprehension we're talking about barley and wheat and rice. Those sorts of things not people. This is true which plant actually crops while the technology that we are hoping to develop is something that could be applied across all crops. Really whether that be things that we can bali through canola any kind of crops. We have adverse with university that crop breeding focuses on foreign grasses and oats and clovers but really the tools. We're hoping to develop could really be widely applied across all crop species of course when you start playing with the processes like that kant you get unexpected results. That need to be reined in. I guess you get unexpected results but that happens across life. That's just part of biology and so what we're hoping to do is to accelerate the pace of traditional plant breeding and these processes that happen routinely in the wild. They happen when we cross one species with another in a more directed fashion in a plant breeding context and this is quite normal plant breeding yup bringing in crisper or any those wonderful genetic techniques which one annabel prize a few weeks ago. Yes well that's right with manage pontiac. That's right we can achieve the goals we want to using crisper because there are several genes that we know in co proteins that suppress this recombination. This mixing of traits between chromosomes. We want to try and achieve those same goals but without genetically modifying the crops that we working with then so we're taking an alternative approach trying to identify drugs or small molecules that could transient louis. Inhibit the function of these proteins just at this critical window in breeding so that we can dial up the level of recombination to eight. This mixing of traits. And then turn it back down again after we've developed our new variety and will you be.

Coming up next