Mining for novel resistance to leaf rust in Eastern European barley germplasm


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. The identification of new sources of genetic resistance is essential for pyramiding multiple disease resistance genes for durable resistance. In Australia most resistance sources are derived from western European and North American origin. However due to political barriers there are very few cases where germplasm and breeding material has been sourced from the east that may is likely to represent a largely unexplored reservoir of resistance. A collection of over 500 different accessions derived from Eastern Europe was assembled from the Australian Winter Cereals Collection. These represent both cultivars and landraces with a wide genetic base. The project will involve detailed phenotypic screening and assessment both in the field and greenhouse at both early and adult developmental stages to identify useful resistance sources to use for genetic studies and molecular marker development for varietal improvement. 


Dr Peter Dracatos, Professor Robert Park, Dr Davinder Singh

Research Location

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Program Type



The project will involve:

  • Identifying uncharacterised seedling and adult plant resistance genes in Eastern European germplasm
  • Genetic studies of resistant x susceptible crosses to assess the inheritance and map new resistance to the barley genome
  • The development of molecular markers for rapid selection and introgression into agronomically favourable germplasm

Additional Information

This is a terrific opportunity to start a career at a world leading center for rust resistance research working. The project will provide the student with valuable skills in plant pathology, molecular and classic plant genetics and plant breeding. The project will directly benefit the Australian barley industry through close alliance with pre-breeding and growers. 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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Disease resistance, molecular breeding, food security

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2157

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