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Evolutionary strategy for plant breeding

Final Report Summary - EVOBREED (Evolutionary strategy for plant breeding)

The EVOBREED aimed for the controlled activation of LTR retrotransposons, which are abundant in genomes of crop plants, to liberate hidden genetic diversity for plant breeding. EVOBREED clearly represented high-risk and high-gain project. Due to its pioneering nature, the risks couldn’t be clearly defined prior start of the project. Unfortunately, initial severe obstacles, such as surprisingly poor and superficial annotation of retrotransposons in genomes of crop plants, lack or unviability of epigenetic mutants, large sizes and high complexity of poorly annotated crop genomes, considerably impaired progress with crop plants in early stages of the project. Nevertheless, our experimental and bioinformatic studies in frame of EVOBREED, allowed us to rapidly gain necessary knowledge and develop several innovative methodologies, which secured satisfactory progress. In contrast to the difficult endeavour with crop plants, the basic research performed in Arabidopsis advanced faster than anticipated and resulted in several discoveries, such as high frequency of retrotransposon recombination or experimental support of novel mechanism of transposon mediated gene shuffling. In general, we were able to resolve most of the methodological difficulties and it is apparent that the results obtained in the frame of EVOBREED provide solid basis to the research community to move swiftly forward in this area and to develop retrotransposition based biotechnological tools for modern plant breeding as it was proposed in EVOBREED.

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 322621

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 October 2013

  • End date

    30 September 2018

Funded under:

FP7-IDEAS-ERC

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 497 061,99

  • EU contribution

    € 2 497 061,99

Hosted by:

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE