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Harnessing Plant Reproduction for Crop Improvement

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.

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)

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POLO D'INNOVAZIONE DI GENOMICA, GENETICA E BIOLOGIA SCARL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 157 500

INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT

France

EU Contribution

€ 144 000

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 211 500

Partners (2)

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CONSEJO NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS Y TECNICAS (CONICET)

CENTRO DE INVESTIGACION Y DE ESTUDIOS AVANZADOS DEL INSTITUTO POLITECNICO NACIONAL

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 645674

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 February 2015

  • End date

    31 January 2019

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.3.

  • Overall budget:

    € 738 000

  • EU contribution

    € 738 000

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PERUGIA

Italy