Rudi Appels

Contributing to the wheat genome sequencing project as a member of the leadership team has been a major research effort after moving from CSIRO to Murdoch University in Western Australia in 2001. The project, through the IWGSC, was basically started at the 2002 Winnipeg ITMI meeting when group discussions with Bikram Gill and myself agreed that a wheat genome sequence was long overdue. The ongoing project of almost 20 years, driven by Kellye Eversole as Executive Director of the IWGSC, included publications in Science (2014, 2018) as well as a recent (2021) update in Plant Journal. The focus on chromosome 7A was Australia’s specific contribution to the international project (Gabriel Keeble-Gagnere, Josquin Tibbits and Matthew Hayden, AgVic, Melbourne) and formed the basis for a major engagement with China through the Australia-China Centre for Wheat Improvement initiative between CAAS (He Zhonghu) and Murdoch University (Wujun Ma) in 2013; this was the only Asian-century agricultural program from among a total of eight Australia-wide proposals that were funded. Reducing-to-practice the development of molecular markers for breeding programs has been an ongoing commitment and has included the markers for granule bound starch synthase for udon noodle quality, imidazolinone resistance, Sr2 resistance, APO1 for yield, repetitive sequence arrays as markers for specific chromosome segments.  Research outputs from the CSIRO-years (1974-2001) include the molecular biology of starch biosynthesis studies protein quality studies continue to underpin my current interests.

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