The programme aims to gain an understanding of the genetic control of apomixis in the tropical forage grasses Brachiaria and paspalum, and the manner in which it may be manipulated for the production of improved cultivars.. The project will consist of three main topic areas (i) improving breeding efficiency, (ii) selecting new varieties and (iii) manipulation of apomixis. The first topic will concentrate upon the determination of the genetic control of apomixis in these species, the breaking of apomixis by the production of new sexual forms through the development of novel tetraploids by means of cell and tissue culture procedures and the diploidisation of tetraploids by means of androgenesis. Biometrical analysis of the novel germplasm produced will be undertaken to ascertain the optimum strategy for varietal development. Area (ii) will concentrate upon the production of new cultivars using existing and the novel germplasm and will involve the agronomic assessment of potential breeding material particularly for productivity, quality and pest and disease resistance. The third topic will be concerned with obtaining knowledge of the genes controlling apomixis by means of molecular techniques. Potential genes will be isolated, cloned used as probes for determining their relationship to the apomictic trait. They will be associated with promoters and used in the transformation of temperate forages for which transformation systems are available. A transformation system for the tropical grasses will be developed. Protoplast fusion will be examined as a means of manipulating apomixis. The role of callose in megasporogenesis will be investigated as it appears to play an important role in the development of apomicts.
Training will form an important component of the programme.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6700 AA Wageningen