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A NOVEL BREEDING STRATEGY USING MULTIPLEX GENOME EDITING IN MAIZE

A NOVEL BREEDING STRATEGY USING MULTIPLEX GENOME EDITING IN MAIZE

Objective

Feeding the growing world population under changing climate conditions poses an unprecedented challenge on global agriculture and our current pace to breed new high yielding crop varieties is too low to face the imminent threats on food security. This ERC project proposes a novel crossing scheme that allows for an expeditious evaluation of combinations of potential yield contributing alleles by unifying ‘classical’ breeding with gene-centric molecular biology. The acronym BREEDIT, a word fusion of breeding and editing, reflects the basic concept of combining breeding with multiplex genome editing of yield related genes. By introducing plants with distinct combinations of genome edited mutations in more than 80 known yield related genes into a crossing scheme, the combinatorial effect of these mutations on plant growth and yield will be evaluated. Subsequent rounds of crossings will increase the number of stacked gene-edits per plant, thus increasing the combinatorial complexity. Phenotypic evaluations throughout plant development will be done on our in-house automated image-analysis based phenotyping platform. The nature and frequency of Cas9-mediated mutations in the entire plant collection will be characterised by multiplex amplicon sequencing to follow the efficiency of CRISPR-cas9 genome editing and to identify the underlying combinations of genes that cause beneficial phenotypes (genetic gain). The obtained knowledge on yield regulatory networks can be directly implemented into current molecular breeding programs and the project will provide the basis to develop targeted breeding schemes implementing the optimal combinations of beneficial alleles into elite material.
BREEDIT will be a major step forward in integrating basic knowledge on genes with plant breeding and has the potential to provoke a paradigm shift in improving crop yield.
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Host institution

VIB

Address

Rijvisschestraat 120
9052 Zwijnaarde - Gent

Belgium

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 474 790

Beneficiaries (1)

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VIB

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 2 474 790

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 833866

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2019

  • End date

    31 August 2024

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 474 790

  • EU contribution

    € 2 474 790

Hosted by:

VIB

Belgium