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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Exploiting the wheat genome to optimise water use in Mediterranean ecosystems


Water is a major determinant of yield for farming wheat in the Mediterranean basin. Wheat is mainly grown under rainfed conditions often characterized by relatively low and uncertain rainfall. The projected change in global climate towards even drier con ditions in the Mediterranean basin will further compound this problem. Durum wheat farming faces continuous fluctuations in production and bread wheat is imported, to a relatively large extent, in many countries. Therefore, there is an urgent economic n eed to improve the water use and water use efficiency in wheat production. This proposal aims to idenitfy crop traits and genetic ideotypes, in wheat, that impart stable yield under Mediterranean drought conditions. This shall be realised by using an int egrated approach combining genomics, quantitative genetics and crop physiology. We shall evaluate a range of different genotypes of durum and bread wheat for WUE, integrative morpho-physiological traits, yield and qualtiy under Mediterranean field condit ions ranging in water availability. We shall select best durum and bread wheat lines evaluated under field conditions for integration into breeding programmes. We shall detect QTLs from a durum mapping population grown under Mediterranean field condition s and new molecular markers. We will design and build a new custom wheat chip for the study of gene expression in select genotypes evaluated under field conditions in the Mediterranean. We shall develop the experience and knowledge of young scientists fro m WANA countries in the latest molecular and physiological techniques. We shall conduct a socio-economic study on wheat farming and new technology in Mediterranean countries. The project fully complies with the main and strategic objectives of this call: Development of improved plant crop germoplasm more adapted to drought through multidisciplinary approaches combining physiology, breeding and biotechnology expertise.

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Participants (5)