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Funding has been received to develop facilities for pursuing research in the molecular biology and genetic engineering of cereal plants.
This includes tissue culture facilities, a ‘gene-gun’ for genetically transforming plant cells, and plant growth rooms. Our focus is on fundamental and applied aspects of cereals and Arabidopsis with principal interests in molecular signalling systems and the biochemistry of germination in barley. While we are currently introducing useful genes into barley plants, our main intentions are to use modern transgenic methods to understand the physiology of cereals rather than to prepare ‘genetically engineered’ foods.
More traditional research on cereals involves the malting of barley with particular reference to the composition of starches from different barley genotypes; studies on the maltase isoenzymes in barley; the conversion of wheat starch to fermentable sugars for the production of grain whisky; and the role of metabolic pathways involved in energy production, particularly those within the mitochondria, in dormancy.