Assessment of genetic variation in photosynthetic temperature response in wheat

The response to temperature is a key trait for breeding more resilient crops for future climates, where temperatures are predicted to rise by 2-4 °C by the end of the 21st century (Le Quere et al., 2009, Stocker et al., 2013). The impact of this temperature change on crop production has been estimated to be as much as a 6% reduction per °C (Zhao et al., 2017).


One of the main physiological processes affected by temperature is photosynthesis. There is emerging evidence that leaf and canopy photosynthesis acclimate to changing temperature and that photosynthetic temperature responses vary considerably between genotypes. This variation can potentially be exploited, if the genetic and physiological variation can be characterized. However, there is currently no rapid, comprehensive method for assessment of photosynthetic temperature responses, something required for characterizing this genetic variation.


To develop a rapid screen for wheat, focused on CO2assimilation rate in response to dynamic temperature change.

Methods and expectations

This project will involve hands-on and theoretical work:

  • Design a rapid screening method for wheat, based on gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence techniques
  • Measure the variation of the photosynthetic temperature response in a number of wheat genotypes under controlled conditions
  • Evaluate the most varying parameter(s) of the photosynthetic temperature response among wheat genotypes