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The use of barley genetic mutant resources to shed light into fundamental aspects of cereal biology was at the centre of discussions at the second International Barley Mutants Workshop 2018 (iBMW2018), held in Dundee with the attendance of 94 crop scientists from the UK, Europe and beyond.

The event brought together researchers at all stages of their career, with emphasis on sharing scientific discoveries and new, novel approaches that promote barley as an experimentally amenable and important crop and model plant. The workshop was a widely requested follow up to a similar and highly successful event held in IPK-Gatersleben, Germany, four years ago.

iBMW2018 coordinator Professor Robbie Waugh, a research leader at the James Hutton Institute and Professor in the University of Dundee, said the meeting produced several concrete outcomes.

“There was collective momentum to develop an international strategy for the characterisation of barley mutant populations and the creation of a central database to facilitate access to these genetic resources for research.”

Consensus was also reached around the nomenclature used to refer to specific genes; a working group was established to lead on the development of key transgenic reporter gene line resources; and a long-term strategy for the development of genome-wide CRISPR-cas induced mutations.  Finally, it was agreed to hold a future event on ‘natural and induced variation’ in 4 years’ time.

iBMW2018 placed special emphasis on providing an opportunity for the next generation of early career scientists to present their research to the wider scientific community, share their experiences and establish new collaborative partnerships with leading groups in the field. Thirty talks were presented, and another thirty researchers discussed scientific posters.

Winners of the poster competition were selected by Udda Lundqvist, Michele Stanca and Jerry Franckowiak, senior scientists from the barley mutant research community whose work laid the foundations for much of the gene discovery science discussed during the meeting.

“I want to give special thanks to both the financial sponsors of iBMW2018 and to Dundee and Angus Conventions Bureau, without whom the event would not have been such a success to the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee,” Prof Waugh added.

Source: The James Hutton Institute

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