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Earth laughs in flowers: Research training in horticultural precision breeding addressing flower colour as established model

Project description

An innovative genome-editing approach to precision plant breeding

Increasing global population combined with the impacts of climate on agriculture have put additional stress on food security. Recent record-high food prices have added to this global crisis of food insecurity and malnutrition. Expanding fundamental knowledge of enzymes and gene regulation in plants will support the scientific ability to enhance output and address this crisis. Within this context and with the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the COLORnamental project will exploit an innovative horticultural precision breeding approach based on gene editing and focused on flower colour. Its outcomes will have wide-reaching applications, from ornamental breeding of beautiful flowering plants to enhancing global food security.


The COLORnamental team comprises a promising Experienced Researcher (ER) in the field of horticulture and molecular breeding and her future supervising team, i.e. an academic beneficiary in Austria, an associated partner from the commercial horticultural industry in Germany and an academic associated partner in Germany hosting a 6 month secondment. Together they have defined an innovative and challenging research project that offers a well-balanced mixture of research at the interface of fundamental and applied research addressing promising opportunities in the non-academic sector and scientific hot-spots in plant research simultaneously. An innovative breeding approach will exploit flower colour as an established model to implement for the first time the use of MAD7 nucleases in ornamental breeding, and protoplast transformation to modify the bract colour of poinsettia. The genome editing approach addresses the substrate specificity of dihydrolflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) and will promote the accumulation of orange pelargonidin based pigments. Flavonoids, including the colourful anthocyanins, are the most important secondary metabolites, contributing a broad range of physiological functions in plants and humans, the latter when consumed as plant derived food. This makes them an attractive topic for industry and academia across many research fields. The pathway has always served as an important model to establish fundamental scientific knowledge of enzymes, gene regulation in plants and a variety of evolutionary processes. This will allow the ER to augment her expertise with knowledge that is seen as the future of food security, while herself imparting a new perspective to her hosts. A tailor-made training plan, composed of scientific key transferable skills elements for public and private sector employment (research management, presentation and language skills) was designed to empower the ER to move up the career ladder.


Net EU contribution
€ 249 301,20
Karlsplatz 13
1040 Wien

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Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Partners (2)