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Professor Ian Henderson



We are investigating how meiosis and recombination influence patterns of genetic variation, and thereby adaptation and genome evolution. We are also actively investigating how natural variation itself feeds back onto the recombination mechanism. We have employed high-throughput fluorescent crossover reporters in the model plant Arabidopsis, which allow us to score 1,000s of meioses per individual. These crossover reporters have been used to extensively screen Arabidopsis natural variation in order to genetically map cis and trans acting modifiers of crossover frequency. For example, we have identified novel trans acting quantitative trait loci that control crossover levels, including the dosage-sensitive E3 ligase HEI10. In this project the student will use genetic approaches to further understand how genetic polymorphism influences different steps of the recombination pathway. This project will provide the student with an advanced training in genetics, epigenetics, genomics and molecular biology. Opportunities also exist to translate these findings into crop species, including tomato and wheat. Ultimately this work will have impact in the field of crop improvement, where these findings have the potential to accelerate genetic improvement of plants.


Selected publications

  • Serra et al (2018) Massive crossover elevation via combination of HEI10 and recq4a recq4b during Arabidopsis meiosis. PNAS 115: 2437-2442.

  • Ziolkowski et al (2016) Natural variation and dosage of the HEI10 meiotic E3 ligase control Arabidopsis crossover recombination Genes & development 31: 306-317.

  • Ziolkowski et al (2015) Juxtaposition of heterozygous and homozygous regions causes reciprocal crossover remodelling via interference during Arabidopsis meiosis. Elife 4, e03708