C4 Rice Project

I work within the C4 Rice Project which aims to improve photosynthetic efficiency in rice and thus to enhance crop yields. As such, the C4 Rice Project is one of the scientific ‘Grand Challenges’ of the 21st Century, involving the coordinated efforts of researchers from 12 institutions in 8 countries.

I am involved in the analysis of high-throughput sequence data and in the development of novel data analysis tools. These analyses and tools will be used to help guide the engineering of C4 photosynthesis into rice.I will use these datasets and tools to quantitatively assess the changes in gene expression that have occurred in transgenic rice lines that had been generated as part of the C4 rice project. These transgenic rice lines include those that have been engineered to have altered photosynthetic properties, to contain parts of the C4 cycle, or to have altered leaf venation patterns. My role is to determine what effect (if any) the expression of the transgene(s) has had on global patterns of gene expression. These global changes will be further analysed to identify the key regulators that have facilitated these changes in gene expression. This data will be integrated with current models of C4 photosynthesis to help guide subsequent engineering steps to introduce C4 photosynthesis into rice.