Dr Ben Trevaskis

Research Group Leader

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Biography

My research interest is how cereal crops sense the passing of the seasons in order to time flowering to coincide with favourable conditions in spring. The main focus for this research has been the molecular pathways that mediate the vernalization response, whereby the prolonged cold of winter triggers spring flowering.

Currently I work with a team of outstanding researchers at CSIRO, and a network of collaborators located elsewhere, to study how genetic variation in flowering behaviour has been used to adapt crops to different growing regions, since different flowering times can suit different climate conditions. We are using flowering behaviour to test the application of machine learning to trait prediction. This research aims to integrate multi-level genomic data with detailed environment characterisation to resolve gene-environment interactions and predict traits under field conditions.

Through our research we have produced a large set of wheat test lines that have different flowering behaviours but that are otherwise 97% identical. This set of 'near-isogenic lines" was generated in the broadly adaptable cultivar Sunstate. It covers many different combinations of vernalization requirement and photoperiod sensitivities, in addition to some other traits like plant height and the presence of awns. Small volumes of seed from these lines can be provided to researchers on request.

We have long-term collaborations with other Australian grains industry researchers located with the Queensland Agriculture Forestry Initiative (QAFFI), University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, Department of Environment Victoria and NSW Department of Primary Industries, as well as international researchers at Oregon State University (USA) and the Chinese Academy of Science, Department of Botany.

Publications

We have publications by Dr Ben Trevaskis