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Efficient phenotypic and molecular selection methods for enhancing preharvest sprouting tolerance of European wheat germplasm - CORNET ROBUST WHEAT

Project duration:
Start  1. July 2010
End 30. June 2012

Project Summary
Production of high quality wheat is limited when environmental conditions favour germination during harvest time. Cultivars with improved tolerance to preharvest sprouting (PHS) due to higher dormancy are necessary to minimise this risk and meet the unchanging high grain quality demands of the wheat processing industry. The general aim of the project is to provide access to the genetic variation for PHS tolerance present in well-adapted high-yielding European wheat cultivars. For phenotypic trait characterisation both visual evaluation and laboratory tests will be used providing the basis for genetic association mapping of sprouting tolerance genes in a diverse wheat sample population.
The project is built as to provide directly applicable results in terms of several key loci defining PHS tolerance, along with markers allowing marker-assisted breeding of PHS tolerant wheat cultivars. It will also settle a unique basis of knowledge regarding the variation of PHS tolerance in European wheat germplasm and provide protocols to evaluate this trait using phenotypic tests and advanced molecular technologies. Key data obtained in the programs in terms of marker and sequence polymorphism will remain accessible to all partners of the project. It is therefore expected that the resources and data produced will form the basis of future cooperative efforts of partners.
Economic impact
Project results will contribute to maintain their competitiveness by speeding up the breeding process by new and efficient breeding tools. The data enables the participating breeding companies to develop future wheat cultivars with increased PHS tolerance according to their own needs. ROBUST WHEAT affects not only the plant breeding sector: wheat free from PHS is the fundamental basis for high quality wheat for baking which is generally of higher value compared to feed wheat. PHS tolerant wheat provides better quality to the whole value chain from the farmer, millers to the wheat processing industry. This allows enhanced export chances, especially in a market scenario with high supply of minor quality wheat. In general with the view towards natural resources, the preservation of grain quality through genetic resistance treats natural resources with care. PHS means directly the loss of invested production goods.

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