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Gemeinschaft zur Förderung von Pflanzeninnovation e. V.

Validation of molecular selection methods for improvement of preharvest sprouting tolerance in winter wheat breeding material in the EU

Project name: Cornet NoSprout
Project duration: 01.10.2012 - 30.09.2014


Wheat is one of the main staple foods. Several quality parameters have to be fulfilled to meet the criteria as high quality wheat for the usage as baking wheat. A high falling number is one of the key parameters which has to be reached for the domestic consumption and, especially, for export. In many years unfavourable weather conditions before harvest stimulate germination which results in starch degrading enzyme activity. Central aim of the project is the refinement of genome-based selection strategies to enhance preharvest sprouting tolerance during wheat breeding.
Association mapping in a panel of diverse wheat genotypes is a powerful tool for the identification of associations of marker alleles with traits. In the ongoing project "Cornet Robust Wheat", using this approach several marker loci were identified to be associated with falling number and preharvest sprouting (PHS) tolerance. However, there are limitations to this approach including the lack of precise genome location and an insufficient estimation of contribution of the genes affecting the trait of interest.
This project is built as to validate molecular markers and candidate genes associated with PHS tolerance previously identified in a panel of Central European wheat cultivars by quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping in several bi-parental populations and QTL meta-analyis. For phenotypic trait characterisation both visual evaluation and laboratory tests will be used providing the basis for genetic mapping of sprouting tolerance genes. The main target of the project is to expedite the applicability of molecular tools for selection in commercial wheat breeding programmes.
The SME-dominated plant breeding and seed sector in Germany and Austria will be the beneficiaries of NoSPROUT. 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. Nearly all of the transnational SME-User Committee is directly involved in project activities (field trials and data collection) and interacts closely with the scientists. This guarantees that project results will gain direct and broad access into the SME. NoSPROUT 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. A predictable quality despite changeable weather conditions during harvest is of great importance for the milling industry. Securing the supply with regional raw material and saving costs for the transport of large volumes is the intention of the milling industry. 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.
The plant breeding sector spends a high proportion of the budget in R&D. But the development of new techniques very often is not feasible for a single company. The breeding companies for small cereals are used to work together in pre-competitive projects, e. g. the search for new disease resistance genes coming from wild relatives. Therefore, the SME-User Committee will assist the dissemination activities such as project meetings, publications and a common web site open for the project partners.

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