Research support advances knowledge in crop and seed sector
#Philanthropy@UC With funding from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) and the Seed Industry Research Centre (SIRC), students at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) can do valuable field and lab research aimed at supporting responsible and profitable farming.
UC Emerita Professor Paula Jameson
UC Emerita Professor Paula Jameson, a UC alumna who served as the inaugural Head of Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences from 2004, has had a 15-year association with FAR. A leading plant scientist, she received recognition for her lifetime of outstanding service to science with the Marsden Medal in 2019, the year when she also retired from UC.
Before she retired, she supervised a number of PhD projects in arable research, two of which won FAR funding support.
First, UC PhD student Zeyu Fu gained funding for his PhD research on perennial ryegrass, a highly valued forage grass for the livestock industry in New Zealand and around the world. The aim of this research was to identify genes that influence seed shattering or shedding in ryegrass before and during harvest, which is one of the main contributors to a poor yield of this crop. Given the livestock industry’s reliance on high-quality ryegrass seed, a poor harvest can have a big impact on its own production.
Conducted in conjunction with UC Senior Research Fellow Dr Jiancheng Song, Zeyu’s research successfully uncovered a key gene that appears to play an important role in seed shattering. This has highlighted exciting future potential for using gene editing to produce a ryegrass with reduced shattering.