Staff Profiles


Ruth Genger

Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Ph.D., Australian National University, Australia, 2001



Phone +61 2 6246 5411
Fax +61 2 6246 5000


Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research
CSIRO Plant Industry
GPO Box 1600
Canberra ACT 2601




My primary research activities relate to the identification of molecular markers closely linked to genes for resistance to scald, a disease of barley caused by the fungal pathogen Rhynchosporium secalis. Wild barley, Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum, is a rich source of resistance to scald and other diseases. We have derived a series of lines carrying scald resistance genes from wild barley. We have developed molecular markers for several of these scald resistance genes, which will be of use to breeders in developing scald resistant barley cultivars. We are continuing to develop markers for more scald resistance genes. We have also used molecular markers to map several of the resistance genes to their chromosomal locations. This information is useful to breeders in choosing resistance genes to be combined, or pyramided, into single cultivars – a strategy which should increase the durability of scald resistance in the field.

I am also interested in plant-pathogen interactions at the molecular level, particularly pathogen recognition and the initiation of defence responses. I have initiated a collaborative project with a group at Adelaide University, investigating the pattern of gene expression in the barley epidermis after inoculation with R. secalis spores. The pattern of gene expression will be compared for lines carrying scald resistance genes in different chromosomal locations, inoculated with two different scald isolates, one of which can overcome scald resistance in some lines.


  • Ruth K. Genger, W. James Peacock, Elizabeth S. Dennis and E. Jean Finnegan, 2002. “Opposing effects of reduced DNA methylation on flowering time in Arabidopsis”. Planta, in press.

  • Ruth K. Genger, Kathryn A. Kovac, Elizabeth S. Dennis, W. James Peacock and E. Jean Finnegan, 1999. “Multiple DNA methyltransferase genes in Arabidopsis thaliana”. Plant Molecular Biology 41:269-278.

  • E.J. Finnegan, R.K. Genger, W.J. Peacock and E.S. Dennis, 1998. “DNA methylation in plants”. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 49:223-247.

  • E.S. Dennis, P. Bilodeau, J. Burn, E.J. Finnegan, R. Genger, C. Helliwell, B.J. Kang, C.C. Sheldon and W.J. Peacock, 1998. Methylation controls the low temperature induction of flowering in Arabidopsis. Symposia of the Society for Experimental Biology 51:97-103.

  • E. Jean Finnegan, Ruth K. Genger, Kathryn Kovac, Elizabeth S. Dennis and W.James Peacock, 1996. “DNA methylation and the promotion of flowering by vernalization”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 95:5824-5829.

  • E.S. Dennis, E.J. Finnegan, P. Bilodeau, A. Chaudhury, R. Genger, C.A. Helliwell, C.C. Sheldon, D.J. Bagnall and W.J. Peacock, 1996. "Vernalization and the initiation of flowering". Cell and Developmental Biology 7:441-448.


Barley Molecular Markers

Gene expression after scald inoculation, in leaf epidermal tissue of barley lines containing scald resistance genes derived from wild barley. Collaborators: Wolfgang Knogge and Klaus Oldach, Adelaide University.