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Mobilization of Olive GenRes through pre-breeding activities to face the future challenges and development of an intelligent interface to ensure a friendly information availability for end users

Project description

A boost for pre-breeding activities in the olive sector

Climate change, emerging diseases and genetic erosion threaten olive production worldwide. While olive germplasm banks offer a possible solution, they remain unexploited due to limited development of pre-breeding activities and lack of collaboration and interaction between the germplasm banks and farmers/breeders. The EU-funded GEN4OLIVE project will increase the mobilisation of olive genetic resources and encourage pre-breeding activities by characterising more than 500 varieties and 1 000 wild and ancient genotypes around the topics of climate change, pest and diseases, production and quality and modern planting systems issues. The project will also develop smart ICT tools to make olive genetic resources more accessible to end-users, and enhance breeders’ and growers’ participation through two open calls for supporting pre-breeding activities.


Problems related to biodiversity loss are seriously affecting the olive sector, one of the most important cultivars from the cultural and economic point of view. Emerging diseases and climate change effects daily threaten this sector. The last dry seasons have caused the decrease of olive oil production up to 57%. The genetic erosion risk is present: there are more than 1,200 olive varieties worldwide, but just a 5% represent the total harvested area.
Olive GenRes could be the key to solve these problems, but they remain largely unexplored. Big handicaps still hinder their exploitation, such as poor characterisation of olive varieties, scarce development of pre-breeding activities, and lack of collaboration between the Germplasm Banks (GBs) and breeders/farmers.
GEN4OLIVE encompasses a wide, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary consortium, which aims to leverage olive GenRes by bringing them to a higher level closer to breeders and markets. The overall goal of GEN4OLIVE is to accelerate the mobilization of olive GenRes and to foster pre-breeding activities by (1) developing a smart and user-friendly interface that will implement Artificial Intelligence utilities to leverage the olive GenRes resources; and (2) enhancing breeders and growers’ participation through the implementation of two open calls for supporting pre-breeding activities and breeding plans.
GEN4OLIVE will develop collective pre-breeding activities aiming to in-depth characterize more than 500 worldwide varieties and 1000 wild and ancient genotypes around 5 topics: climate change, pests and diseases, production and quality, and modern planting systems. After integrating all results in the GEN4OLIVE interface, breeders and other end-users will have an effective tool for speeding up all kind of breeding programs. The combination of pre-breeding results with modern ICTs will enable the access of end-users to this valuable information.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 660 772,50
14005 Cordoba

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Sur Andalucía Córdoba
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 660 772,50

Participants (15)