New EU-funded network for plant phenotyping on the way
Plant-derived products are proving to be an effective way of dealing with the ever increasing demand for more food, feed and raw materials, and to this end many scientists believe that more knowledge about plant phenotyping is essential. Step up a new EU-funded project that aims to investigate this emerging science that links genomics with plant ecophysiology and agronomy.
Plant performance and productivity is determined by the relationship between the functional plant body, the 'phenotype', which is formed during plant growth, and its genetic background, or 'genotype', and the physical world in which plants develop. The better scientists understand the link between the genotype and phenotype the better they can advance modern breeding and basic plant research.
To increase Europe's capacity to analyse existing genetic resources for their interaction with the environment, the EPPN ('European Plant Phenotyping Network') project will see the creation of a new plant phenotyping network. With a EUR 5,500,000 boost from the 'Research Infrastructures' Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), EPPN will bring together scientists from Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel and the United Kingdom to develop sustainable plant production with higher yields that use up less resources.
The project, which will run until 2015, will fuse several different approaches in the field, from molecular to genetic. Although much progress has already been made in molecular and genetic approaches in recent years, the quantitative analysis of plant phenotypes remains a major bottleneck.
The project aim is to build up the EPPN to provide structured and efficient development of a competitive plant phenotyping community in Europe. The main goals of the EPPN project partners are to integrate European plant phenotyping efforts, enable close interaction between users of phenotyping platforms and developers of phenotyping technology, develop sensor technology, define and promote good phenotyping practice and information technology (IT) standards for plant phenotyping, and support access to major plant phenotyping facilities in Europe. The leader of this scientific consortium is German Forschungszentrum Jülich.
One of the 14 partner institutions is the Global Change Research Centre in the Czech Republic whose project 'CzechGlobe' aims to investigate the manifestations and impacts of global climate change, including modelling and climate change scenarios that focus on the interactions between the biosphere and the global carbon cycle. CzechGlobe is dedicated to innovative, high impact research and plant phenotyping.
By boosting plant productivity, researchers hope to address major economic, ecological and societal challenges that are increasingly important for the EU and the Europe 2020 goals.
As well as being used as a raw material for a new generation of products, plants today are also increasingly being used as a renewable energy source. Unfortunately, however, climate change and the scarcity of arable land bring about additional challenges for future scenarios of sustainable agricultural production. Therefore, it has never been more important to increase our knowledge of plant phenotyping to improve plant productivity.
For more information, please visit:
European Plant Phenotyping Network:
Data Source Provider: European Plant Phenotyping Network
Document Reference: Based on information from the European Plant Phenotyping Network
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Life Sciences; Medicine, Health; Scientific Research