Mediterranean citriculture face up to an increasing combination of biotic (Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) /phytophthora) and abiotic stresses (salinity /alkalinity). Most of these constraints should be individually managed by the rootstock choice. However, s pread of CTV all over the Med. Basin will soon prohibit the current use of the traditional sour orange rootstock, that provide adequate tolerance to salinity and alkalinity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to select new citrus rootstocks. All the requi red traits are present in citrus germplasm but the complexity of citrus biology and genetic make it difficult to combine them through traditional breeding.The project proposes to enhance the efficiency of citrus germplasm for rootstock breeding under two main breeding strategies: sexual recombination and somatic hybridisation. Knowledge and methodologies will be developed by combining physiological, genomic, genetic and biotechnological approaches. Training and methodology transfer to the end users are i mportant component of the project. The project will focus on tolerance to salinity and tolerance to iron deficiency associated with alkaline soils. 6 work packages are planned: (i) local germplasm evaluation and implementation of regional citrus rootsto ck germplasm network, (ii) identification of physiological indicator of tolerance and development of standardized protocols for physiological evaluation ; analysis of relation between the variability of these indicator and variability of candidate genes (iii) search of candidate genes and study of their physical distribution on the genome, (iv) comparative genetic mapping between Citrus an Poncirus and analysis of recombination at intergeneric level, (v) development and optimisation of new breeding me thods including Assisted Marker Selection and somatic hybridisation, (vi) implementation of a regional network for new rootstock agronomical evaluation.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
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Mahrajène - Tunis
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