School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Agricultural Production Systems PhD Students

Jone Santín Azcona
Jone Santín Azcona: PhD student in Agricultural Production Systems

Project description 

I am an IAFRI PhD student. I'm investigating the effect of three cryptic viruses on the response to abiotic stresses in a black-grass population. I am working with:

  • Dr Catherine Tetard-Jones
  • Adrian Fox
  • Dr Neil Boonham

Viruses have commonly been regarded solely as pathogens. The establishment of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has revealed the existence of viruses with a persistent life style not obviously linked to disease symptoms. These viruses are commonly referred to as cryptic. Their characteristics suggest that they may be naturally selected for conferring beneficial phenotypes to their hosts.

My project’s aim is to study how cryptic viral infections may alter crop stress tolerance towards multiple abiotic stresses. I will focus on three new cryptic viruses: AMVV1, AMPV1 and AMPV2. These have been identified in black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) populations associated with multiple herbicide resistance.

I will study the ecology of these viruses. I will carry out a series of stress bioassays (drought, heat and herbicide) to assess their effect on stress tolerance in a selected black-grass population.


  • Viruses and symbiotic relationships. Science’s history.
  • Movies, books, comic books and videogames.


  • Degree in Biotechnology
  • Master’s degree in Plant breeding and genetics
  • C2 diploma in English (CAE) and French (DALF).