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Harnessing Plant Reproduction for Crop Improvement

Objective

Increased crop productivity through genetic improvement of plants has significantly impacted world agriculture and the world’s population. Crop plants have followed the general pattern of introduction, selection, and hybridization. Once introgressed, selection and breeding strategies have led to new cultivars with improved yield and adaptation. Unfortunately, many of these important traits are typically polygenic. The consequence is that only certain unique allele combinations comply to generate elite performing genotypes. The fixation of a given genotype occurs naturally in species that display an asexual type of seed production named apomixis (i.e. clonal seed production). Unfortunately, apomixis does not naturally occur in major crop species with few exceptions (Citrus, mango and mangosteen). In crop species, apomixis would enable the instantaneous fixation of the complete genome of the best plants. When coupled with male-sterility systems, apomictic reproduction (with no need for male contribution) could help in addressing issues related to transgene escape from GM crops to organic or conventional crops, and thereby allow for better coexistence systems. This trait by itself is highly valuable for agriculture, but despite many efforts it has never been possible to introduce it into the domesticated crop species of today. The financial and economic impacts of the development of apomixis technology and its application to major crops are amazing (€1800-2300 million per annum per crop). The overall goal of the proposal is to allow for a synergy of inter-related European and international expertise to better understand the mechanisms of sexual/apomictic plant reproduction and to facilitate the application of this increased knowledge in the development of new approaches for agriculture and food industry to increase productivity.

Field of science

  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/genome
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/plant breeding/crops
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/production economics/productivity

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-RISE - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PERUGIA
Address
Piazza Dell Universita 1
06123 Perugia
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 225 000

Participants (3)

POLO D'INNOVAZIONE DI GENOMICA, GENETICA E BIOLOGIA SCARL
Italy
EU contribution
€ 157 500
Address
Via Fiorentina 1
53100 Siena
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT
France
EU contribution
€ 144 000
Address
Boulevard De Dunkerque 44 Cs 90009
13572 Marseille
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO
Italy
EU contribution
€ 211 500
Address
Via Festa Del Perdono 7
20122 Milano
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

Partners (2)

CONSEJO NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS Y TECNICAS (CONICET)
Argentina
Address
Godoy Cruz 2290
C1425FQB Buenos Aires
Activity type
Research Organisations
CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION Y DE ESTUDIOS AVANZADOS DEL INSTITUTO POLITECNICO NACIONAL
Mexico
Address
Avenida Instituto Politecnico Nacional 2508
07360 Mexico
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments