Dr Annis Richardson (PhD)
Lecturer in Molecular Crop Science
How do plants get their shape? Understanding how shape is defined is particularly important for crop plants as the shape of the organ (e.g. leaf) has a significant impact on plant productivity (i.e. yield). In the Plant Shape Lab we to use a multidisciplinary approach to try to understand the mechanisms that determine plant organ shape. Through better understanding how shape is defined, we can then target specific elements of the mechanism to finetune organ shape for different requirements.
The grasses provide most of the world’s staple food crops (rice, wheat and maize) as well as many other food, forage and biofuel crops. They share a unique leaf structure and exhibit diverse floral and whole plant architecture shapes. We use barley and maize to explore how shape is defined in the grasses. To do this we combine genetics, next generation sequencing, molecular biology, 3D imaging and computational modelling to build an understanding of how grass organs develop over time. Through better understanding grass development , we hope to identify key elements underlying different traits and exploit these to generate grass crops for different purposes and field conditions in the future.