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Exploring diversity for crop improvement in multiparent populations

NIAB in Cambridge (UK) and the Department of Plant Sciences, Cambridge University are offering a PhD Studentship working on multiparent mapping populations in wheat and rice, commencing 1 January 2015. This fully funded three year scholarship includes a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£13,863 per annum for 2014/15).

The successful applicant must be a resident of a developing country.

Project description

Multiparent populations such as Nested Association Mapping (NAM) panels and the Multiparent Advanced Generation Intercross (MAGIC) are used increasingly in trait mapping in crops. The availability of high densities of genetic markers means that these diverse populations can map more QTL for more traits to smaller genetic intervals than is routinely possible with bi-parental crosses. Such populations can also be used as source material for the initiation of selection programmes.

This project will study practical and theoretical aspects of NAM and MAGIC for both purposes in rice and wheat. The work will be based on computer simulation, validated by experimental data as it becomes available. There will also be opportunities for the student to visit IRRI to familiarise themselves with rice breeding and the development of the populations, as well as to be part of the established wheat pre-breeding programme at NIAB.

The student will be based at NIAB and registered for a PhD in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, with full access to university facilities and resources. Supervision will be jointly by Dr Alison Bentley and Dr Ian Mackay at NIAB and Dr Julian Hibberd in the Department of Plant Sciences. The PhD position is part of the Wild rice MAGIC SCPRID project.

To apply for this studentship, please send a covering letter and CV to the HR Office, NIAB, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0LE. Email: by 31 August 2014.

The successful applicant will then be asked to make an online application to Cambridge University (Applicant Portal) and will need to meet all University conditions, including proven proficiency in English. Guidance will be given on applying for a Tier 4 visa.

For further information, please contact Ian Mackay at

Further project details can be found at