Relationships between intraspecific differentiation and environmental responses in common wheat and its relatives

Common wheat, Triticum aestivumL., shows wide natural variations in flowering-related traits, cold acclimation and freezing tolerance, and abscisic acid responsiveness. Wheat relatives including a D-genome wheat progenitor, Aegilops tauschiiCoss., also reveal abundant genetic diversity in their populations, and large variations are observed in morphological traits such as spike, awn, and grain shapes as well as flowering-related traits. Our research objectives are to elucidate nature of the genetic variations and to identify their causal genes.


Application of wild genetic resources for wheat breeding through production of synthetic allopolyploids

Artificially produced wheat allopolyploids are called as synthetic wheat lines. The wheat synthetics are useful tools to transmit agriculturally important genes from wild relatives to tetraploid and common wheat cultivars. We have produced several types of synthetic wheat lines, and validated the usefulness of wild wheat-derived genes under the allopolyploid wheat genetic backgrounds.


​Molecular interaction between wheat and powdery mildew

Availability of genome sequences of both hosts and parasites and development of genome editing technology enable to access what kind of genes of host and pathogen are involved in pathogen evolutions through the domestication and breeding processes. Our first target genes are effectors and their wheat interactor. The immediate objectives of this research are to (1) identify novel effectors; and (2) identify wheat interactors with powdery mildew molecules.


Abnormal growth phenotypes observed in interspecific hybrids between wheat and its relatives

Allopolyploidization is one of the main forces for speciation, and interspecific hybrids can be easily produced in genus Triticumand Aegilops. However, abnormal growth phenotypes are frequently observed in the hybrid seeds and plants, and the abnormalities inhibit the allopolyploid speciation. We have engaged in the studies to elucidate the molecular mechanisms undergoing hybrid growth abnormalities and to identify the causative genes. 


Development of methods to identify genes from wild wheat relatives and cultivated wheat

Complicated and giant genome of Triticeae species prevent us from rapidly identifying targeted genes. To solve this problem, we are developing methods to identify chromosomal regions of the targeted genes and the genes itself based on NGS. Specially, we try to apply the methods to wild wheat relatives without referent genome sequence.