Yueqi Zhang

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Biography

Yueqi did her Bachelor of Biotechnology with an Honours degree at the Australian National University. She worked for the American biotechnology company Epoch Life Science branch in Beijing on gene cloning from 2016 to 2017 before joining the Batley lab for PhD since Oct 2017.

Research Interests

Plant genomics, Chromosomal flow cytometry, Plant-pathogen interactions, Disease resistance genes

Current Projects

Identification of blackleg disease resistance genes in Brassicas. 
Evolutionary study of disease resistance gene analogues in Brassicas pan-genome. 
Flow cytometric analysis of single chromosome of Brassica napus.

The Brassica genus belongs to the agriculturally important Brassicaceae family. Brassica napus (i.e. canola, genome AACC, 2n = 4x = 38) is resulted from the hybridization of B. rapa (i.e. turnip rape, Chinese cabbage and choy sum, genome AA, 2n = 20) and B. oleracea (i.e. kale, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, genome CC, 2n = 18). B. napus (canola) is the second largest oilseed crop following soybean. Over 50% of the Australian oilseed production over the past five years is attributed to canola. Blackleg disease caused by the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans is one of the most devastating diseases of canola in Australia, Europe and Canada. The most effective and sustainable approach to combatting the disease is to identify major disease resistance (R) genes in Brassicas, characterise the interactions between R genes and avirulence (Avr) genes in the pathogen, and breed for resistant lines. The focus of Yueqi's projects is to achieve a better understanding of the R genes in Brassicas. The candidate regions for R genes against blackleg have been located in B. napus reference genome with linkage genetic markers obtained from genome-wide association studies and quantitative trait loci analysis. R gene candidates are identified through re-sequencing approach applying a range of sequencing technologies including MiSeq, MinIon Nanopore and Sanger. A study of the number, distribution, organisation of all R gene analogues in B. napus in comparison with its two diploid progenitors B. rapa and B. oleracea could help gain insights in the evolution of R gene in Brassicas. Repetitive sequences in plant genomes introduce uncertainty and inaccuracy in the genome assembly, read alignment, the discovery of genetic variations and gene annotations. The quality of the Brassicas reference genome is limited by current predominant next-generation sequencing technology generating short reads. Isolation of a single chromosome through flow-sorting may help improve the accuracy and quality of the reference genome by focusing on the specific chromosome of interest. This technology has wide and deep implications in the genetic and genomic studies of important agronomic traits in Brassicas.

Publications

Contact Details

Yueqi Zhang

Room 1.122, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

The University of Western Australia

Crawley, WA 6009, Perth, Australia

Email: 22078946@student.uwa.edu.au