Meiotic recombination has underpinned plant breeding for the generation of new traits of agronomic, environmental and economic importance, although we still have little understanding of the controlling mechanisms involved in this process. We will combine approaches in genomics and systems biology to obtain a detailed understanding of the factors that control recombination and will provide a basis for the development of strategies to modify recombination in a variety of crop species. Meiotic protein complexes with a role in homologous recombination and chromosome organization will be isolated from Arabidopsis and brassica using affinity based techniques. The protein complexes will be analysed by massspectrometry.
These data will be combined with existing information using a systems biology approach to develop a
predictive model of the protein/gene interaction (PPI) networks that underpin plant meiosis. Interactions and novel components will be experimentally validated using genetic and molecular cytological approaches allowing the network model to be developed through an iterative process. The model will be used to inform studies into how factors such as chromosome structure and chromatin modifications affect the frequency and distribution of meiotic crossovers. The knowledge from the model species will be implemented and assessed by experiments aimed at modulating meiotic recombination in crop species including barley and brassica.