Lead Chief Investigator: Robert Henry, The University of Queensland

Collaborating Chief Investigators: Peter Waterhouse, Brad Sherman, David Jordan


Our aim is to integrate plant mechanisms, connect them to genomes, and reveal mechanisms of stress response which may become targets for selection in crop breeding.  

We will also investigate the path to crops, evaluating gene-editing technologies in terms of accuracy, cost, intellectual property issues, regulatory constraints and social acceptance. 

Our approach

We will develop and apply high-throughput gene-editing and mutagenesis techniques to support our analysis and manipulation of gene networks. Rice and sorghum will be primary targets, with potential for later extension to other species. The well-defined genomes of rice and sorghum will allow reliable targeting of mutations.  

We will manipulate abiotic stress response pathways to define the impact of these mutations on gene networks responding to stress.  

Parallel development of editing in wild and domesticated rice will allow us to evaluate the function of domestication related genes (especially networks responding to stress). This will help define the impact of domestication on plant performance in different environments.  

Our initial targets include understanding known mutants that impact stress responses.  

We will use transcriptome profiling and phenotyping to monitor the impact of gene manipulation on networks of stress response.  

We will compare high-throughput mutation and editing technologies in terms of accuracy (off-target effects), cost, IP issues (freedom to operate), regulatory constraints and social acceptance.