Fine mapping and cloning of seedling and adult plant resistance genes to leaf rust in barley


Leaf rust caused by Puccinia hordei is one of the most damaging foliar pathogens of barley worldwide. To date the use of genetic resistance has been the most economically and environmentally sustainable solution to control the disease. Due to the ability of the pathogen to rapidly evolve and overcome deployed major resistance (R) genes other more durable resistance is required, however still some major  R genes such as Rph7 and Rph15 remain highly effective. Furthermore R genes expressed at the adult plant stage to date have proven to be durable in wheat and often is non-race specific providing resistance to more than one pathogen species. In barley three adult plant resistance (APR) genes have been identified Rph20, Rph23 and Rph24. Both Rph23 and Rph24 represent APRs of minor effect that are interactive and additive with Rph20. This project will involve fine mapping and positional cloning of the all stage resistance gene Rph15 and two APR genes; Rph23 and Rph24 with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of both forms of resistance and to develop perfect markers. The project will be based at both the University of Sydney and CSIRO Plant Industries in Canberra. The student will develop skills in plant pathology and molecular biology and have the opportunity to publish high impact publications.


Dr Peter Dracatos, Professor Robert Park, Dr Davinder Singh

Research Location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program Type



The project will involve:

  • The development of flanking markers for genes Rph15,  Rph23 and Rph24 and the identification of recombinants in high resolution F2 generation mapping populations.
  • Phenotyping and genotyping informative recombinant families to fine map both APR genes.
  • Phenotypic screening of previously developed mutant populations to identify  multiple independent mutants for each loci
  • Complementation studies in the susceptible transformable barley genotype, Golden Promise.

Additional Information

This is a terrific opportunity to start a career at two world leading centers for rust resistance research. The project will provide the student with valuable skills in plant pathology and molecular biology. We are looking for a high quality student that is supported either by a University or RTP scholarship. The student will also be eligible for a GRDC top –up scholarship.  

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Fine mapping and cloning of seedling and adult plant resistance genes to leaf rust in barley

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2156

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