Skip to Content
Southern Cross Plant Science


Research summary

Brassica crops are of worldwide importance for trade and human diet, providing a wide range of vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and pak choi as well as the major oilseed crop canola and condiment mustards.

Graham King has developed and characterised a range of Brassica genetic and genomic resources underpinning crop improvement traits. These have including reference mapping populations, linkage maps and detailed analysis of QTL for physiological and developmental traits, and resistance to diseases.

Key experimental platforms include genome sequences, as part of the Multinational Brassica rapa Sequencing Consortium, and initiating (with colleagues in the UK) development of Diversity Fixed Foundation Sets (DFFS). Advances in understanding the genetic basis of crop traits requires detailed knowledge of the complex genome structure of Brassica species. Ongoing work includes integration of information to allow navigation via comparative genomics from genetics loci to chromosome, and development of crop genetics databases.

Current research interests include:

  • Understanding the domestication events and progenitors of the polyploid canola (B. napus)
  • Genomic distribution and modulation of epigenetic marks affecting agronomic traits
  • Epigenetic regulation of reproductive organs
  • Genotype x Environment interactions, with focus on mineral nutrition
  • Modulation and metabolic pathway engineering of health-beneficial glucosinolates

Funding / collaborators

  • Dr Martin Broadley, U. Nottingham, UK
  • Professor Mike Wilkinson, U. Adelaide
  • Dr John Hammond, U. Western Australia
  • Dr Sue Armstrong, U. Birmingham, UK
  • Dr Smita Kurup, Rothamsted Research, UK
  • Professor Jinling Meng, Dr Jing Wang, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China

Research outcomes

  • Brassica rapa genome sequence
  • Epigenetic map of canola genome
  • Genetic resolution of seed oil fatty acid pathways
  • Genetic regulatory networks associated with mineral nutrition
  • Insights into developmental timeline of seed embryo

Delivery of research


Professor Graham King:


Geleta M, Heneen WK, Stoute AI, Muttucumaru N, Scott RJ, King GJ, Kurup S, Bryngelsson T (2012) Assigning Brassica microsatellite markers to the nine C genome chromosomes using Brassica rapa var. trilocularis -B. oleracea var. alboglabra monosomic alien addition lines. Theor. Appl. Genet. In Press.

Heneen WJ, Geleta M, Brismar K, Xiong Z, Pires JC, Hasterok R, Stoute AI, Scott RJ, King GJ, Kurup S. (2012) Seed colour control, chromosome homoeology, and linkage groups revealed in Brassica rapa var. trilocularis - B. oleracea var. alboglabra monosomic alien addition lines. Ann. Bot. in press

Rios JJ, Ó Lochlainn S, Devonshire J, Graham N, Hammond J, King GJ, White P, Kurup S, Broadley M (2012) Distribution of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) in the leaves of Brassica rapa under varying exogenous Ca and Mg supply. Annals Botany doi: 10.1093/aob/mcs029

Stoute AI, Varenko V, King GJ, Scott RJ, Kurup S (2012) Parental genome imbalance in Brassica oleracea causes asymmetric triploid block. The Plant Journal. In press

Long Y, Xia W, Li R, Wang J, Shao M, Feng J, King GJ, Meng J. (2011) Genome-wide analysis of stable epigenetic loci and QTLs in Brassica napus. Genetics. 189: 1093-1102

The Brassica rapa Genome Consortium (2011). The genome of the mesopolyploid crop species Brassica rapa. Nature Genetics. 43: 1035-1039 Hammond JP, Mayes S, Bowen HC, Graham NS, Hayden RMm Love CG, Spracklen WP, Wang J, Welham SJ, White PJ, King GJ, Broadley MR. (2011) Novel regulatory hotspots control plant gene expression under varying soil phosphorus (P) supply. Plant Physiology. 156: 1230-1241.

Wang J, Lydiate DJ, Parkin IAP, Falentin C, Delourme R, Carion P, King GJ (2011) Integration of Linkage Maps for the Amphidiploid Brassica napus and Comparative Mapping with Arabidopsis and Brassica rapa. BMC Genomics 12:101. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-101

Boys EF, Roques SE, West JS, Werner P, King GJ, Dyer PS, Fitt BDL (2011). Resistance to Pyrenopeziza brassicae (light leaf spot) in Brassica napus (oilseed rape) stops asexual but not sexual sporulation. Plant Pathology. Published online

Huang YJ, Hood JR, Eckert MR, Stonard JF, Cools HJ, King GJ, Rossall S, Ashworth M, Fitt BDL (2011) Effects of fungicide on growth of Leptosphaeria maculans and L. biglobosa in relation to development of phoma stem canker on oilseed rape (Brassica napus). Plant Pathology. 60: 607-620. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2010.02416.x

Lochlainn SO, Fray RG, Hammond JP, King GJ, White PJ, Young SD, Broadley MR (2011) Generation of non vernal-obligate, faster-cycling Noccaea caerulescens lines through fast neutron mutagenesis. New Phytologist 189:409-414

Xu J, Qian X, Wang X, Li R, Cheng X, Yang T, Fu J, Zhang S, King GJ, Wu J, Liu K (2010) Construction of an integrated genetic linkage map for the A genome of Brassica napus using SSR markers derived from sequenced BACs in B. rapa. BMC Genomics. 11:594

Love CG, Graham NS, Ó Lochlainn S, Bowen HC, May ST, White PJ, Broadley MR, Hammond JP, King GJ (2010) A Brassica Exon Array for Whole-Transcript Gene Expression Profiling. PLOS One 5(9): e12812

King GJ, Amoah S, Kurup S (2010) Exploring and Exploiting Epigenetic Variation in Crop Plants. Genome 53:856-868

Broadley MR, O'Lochlainn S, Hammond JP, Bowen HC, Cakmak I, Eker S, Erdem H, King GJ, White PJ (2010) Shoot zinc (Zn) concentration varies widely within Brassica oleracea L. and is affected by soil Zn and phosphorus (P). J. Hort. Sci. Biotech. 85:275-80

Stephenson P, Baker D, Girin T, Perez A, Amoah S, King GJ, Østergaard L (2010) A rich TILLING resource for studying gene function in Brassica rapa. BMC Plant Biology 10:62

Szadkowski E, Eber F, Huteau V, Lodé M, Huneau C, Belcram H, Coriton O, Manzanares-Dauleux M.J, Delourme R, King G.J, Chalhoub B, Jenczewski E., Chèvre AM. (2010) The first meiosis of resynthesized Brassica napus, a genome blender. New Phytologist 186: 102-112

Chai, G., Bai, Z., Wei, F., King, G J, Wang, C., Shi, L., Dong, C., Chen, H. & Liu, S. (2010). Brassica GLABRA2 genes: analysis of function related to seed oil content and development of functional markers. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 120, 1597-1610

Allender C, King GJ (2010) Clarifying the Origins of the Amphiploid Species Brassica napus L. using Chloroplast and Nuclear Molecular Markers. BMC Plant Biology 10:54.

White PJ, Hammond JP, King GJ, Bowen HC, Hayden RM, Meacham MC, Spracklen WP, Broadley MR (2009) Genetic Analysis of Potassium Use Efficiency in Brassica oleracea L. Ann. Bot. 105: 1199-1210

Wang J, Wu B, Liu J, Jiang C, Long Y, Shi L,Zhao J, King G, Meng J (2009) The evolution of Brassica napus FLOWERING LOCUS T paralogues in the context of inverted chromosomal duplication blocks. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 9:271

Allainguillaume, J., Harwood, T., Ford, C. S., Cuccato, G.,Norris, C., Allender, C. J., Welters, R., King, G. J. & Wilkinson, M. J. (2009). Rapeseed cytoplasm gives advantage in wild relatives and complicates genetically modified crop biocontainment. New Phytologist 183: 1201-1211.

Hammond JP, Broadley MR, White PJ, King GJ, Bowen HC, Hayden R, Meacham MC, Mead A, Overs T, Spracklen WP, Greenwood DJ (2009) Shoot yield drives phosphorus use efficiency in Brassica oleracea and correlates with root architecture traits. J Exp. Bot. 60:1953-1968

Huang Y-J, Pirie E, Evans N, Delourme R, King GJ, Fitt BDL (2009) Quantitative resistance to symptomless growth of Leptosphaeria maculans (phoma stem canker) in Brassica napus (oilseed rape). Plant Pathology. 58:314-323

Howell EC, Kearsey MJ, Jones GH, King GJ, Armstrong SJ (2008) A and C genome distinction and chromosome identification in Brassica napus by sequential FISH and GISH. Genetics. 180: 1849-1857

Wang N, Wang Y, Tian F, King GJ, Zhang C, Long Y, Shi L, Meng J. (2008) A functional genomics resource for Brassica napus: development of an EMS mutagenized population and discovery of FAE1 point mutations by TILLING. New Phytologist. 180:751-765

Alix K, Joets J, Ryder CD, Moore J, Barker GC, Bailey JP, King GJ, Heslop-Harrison JS. (2008) The CACTA transposon Bot1 played a major role in Brassica genome divergence and gene proliferation. The Plant Journal. 56:1030-1044

Pink D, Bailey L, McClement S, Hand P, Mathas E, Buchanan-Wollaston V, Astley D, King G, Teakle G (2008) Doubled haploids, markers and QTL analysis in vegetable brassicas. Euphytica. 164: 509-514

Østergaard L, King GJ (2008) Standardized gene nomenclature for the Brassica genus. Plant Methods. 4:10

Broadley MR, Hammond JP, King GJ, Astley D, Bowen HC, Meacham MC, Mead A, Pink DAC, Teakle GR, Hayden RM, Spracklen WP, White PJ (2008) Leaf-calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) concentrations differ between subtaxa, are highly heritable, and associate with potentially pleiotropic loci in Brassica oleracea. Plant Physiology 146:1707-1720

King, GJ (2007) Utilization of Arabidopsis and Brassica Genomic Resources to Underpin Genetic Analysis and Improvement of Brassica crops. In: Model Plants : Crop Improvement. Eds. R.K. Varshney & R.M.D. Koebner, CRC Press, Boca Ratan (FL), USA. pp33-69.

Choi SR, Teakle GR, Plaha P, Kim JH, Allender CJ, Beynon E, Piao ZY, Soengas P, Han TH, King GJ, Barker GC, Hand P, Lydiate DJ, Batley J, Edwards D, Osborn TC, Koo DH, Bang JW, Park B-S, Lim YP. (2007) The reference genetic linkage map for the Multinational Brassica rapa Genome Sequencing Project. Theor. Appl. Genet. 115:777-7922007; 115 (6)

Barker GC, Larson TR, Graham IA, Lynn JR, King GJ (2007) Novel Insights into Seed Fatty Acid Synthesis and Modification Pathways from Genetic Diversity and QTL Analysis of the Brassica C genome. Plant Physiology. 144: 1827-1842

Salathia, N, Lynn, JR, Millar AJ, King GJ (2007) Detection and Resolution of Genetic Loci Affecting Circadian Period in Brassica oleracea. Theor. Appl. Genet. 114:683-692

Allender CJ, Allainguillaume J, Lynn JR and King GJ (2007) Chloroplast SSRs reveal uneven distribution of genetic diversity in C genome (n=9) Brassica species. Theor. Appl. Genet. 114: 609-618.

Jung, S.K., Tae, Y.C., King, G.J., Jin, M., Yang, T.-J., Jin, Y.-M., Kim, H.-I., Park, B.-S. (2006). A sequence-tagged linkage map of Brassica rapa. Genetics. 174: 29-39

Allainguillaume J., Alexander M, Bullock JM, Saunders M, Allender C, King GJ, Ford C, Wilkinson MJ (2006) Fitness of hybrids between rapeseed (Brassica napus) and wild B. rapa in natural habitats. Molecular Ecology. 15:1175-1184

Alix, K, Ryder, C, Moore, King, GJ, Heslop-Harrison, JS. (2005) The genomic organization of retrotransposons in Brassica oleracea. Plant Molecular Biology. 59:839-851

Howell, E.C., Armstrong, S.J., Barker, G.C., Jones GH, King GJ, Ryder CD and Kearsey, M.J. (2005) Physical organisation of the major duplication on Brassica oleracea chromosome O6 revealed through fluorescence in situ hybridisation with Arabidopsis and Brassica BACs. Genome. 48(6): 1093-1103

Hall, NM, Griffiths, H, Corlett, J, Jones, H, Lynn, L. and King, GJ (2005) Relationships between water-use traits in Brassica oleracea L. resolved by quantitative genetic analysis. Plant Breeding, 124:557-564

Cogan NOI, Newbury HJ, Oldacres AM, Lynn JR, Kearsey MJ, King GJ, Puddephat IJ (2004) Identification and characterisation of QTL controlling Agrobacterium-mediated stable and transient transformation in Brassica oleracea. Plant Biotechnology 2:59-69

Kop EP, Teakle GR, McClenaghan ER, Lynn J, King GJ (2003) Molecular genetic analysis of the bracting trait in cauliflower and broccoli. Plant Science 164:803-808

Vicente, J.G., Taylor, J.D., Sharpe, A.G., Parkin, I.A.P., Lydiate, D.J., King, G.J. (2002) Inheritance of race specific resistance to Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris in Brassica genomes. Phytopathology 92:1134-1141

Howell, EC, Barker, GC, Jones, GH, Kearsey, MJ, King, GJ, Kop, EP, Ryder, CD, Teakle, GR, Vicente, JG, Armstrong, SJ (2002) Integration of a cytogenetic map with a genetic linkage map of Brassica oleracea. Genetics 161:1225-34

Cogan, N.O.I., Lynn, J.R., King, G.J., Kearsey, M.J., Newbury, H.J. and Puddephat I.J. (2002) Identification of genetic factors controlling the efficiency of Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation in Brassica oleracea by QTL analysis. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 105:568-576