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Trending Wheat: Improving the accuracy and efficiency of selection for complex traits in wheat breeding for Mediterranean environments through MAS and GS

Starting date: 01/06/2020 End date: 31/05/2023
Programme: Sustainable Field Crops

Financing entities:

The ultimate purpose of this SP is to provide scientific knowledge and useful tools to cope with some of the main current demands of wheat breeding programmes oriented to Mediterranean environments, the tolerance to the increased drought expected in the next decades to occur during grain filling in the Mediterranean Basin, as consequence of climate change, and with a high quality grain matching the industry requirements.

To accomplish with the goal of the project three main objectives are proposed: The first two objectives aim to develop tools to improve the accuracy of selection by using of genomic information. The first one aims the development of genome-targeted molecular markers for MAS for yield and grain quality, two of the main traits tackled by breeding programmes. Additionally, markers associated to the root system anatomy will be identified. The second objective goes a step forward by addressing the generation of the information and tools needed to apply MAS for yield under suboptimal environmental conditions, on a genome wide scale through genomic selection. Finally, the third specific objective focusses on developing tools for identifying phenotypes adapted to drought environments and the implementation of a speed-breeding procedure to shorten the generation time needed to reach homozygous genotypes.

The multidisciplinary expertise needed to achieve these objectives will be obtained from an international collaboration between the Wheat Breeding Team of IRTA and internationally recognized teams from UCD (University College Dublin) in Ireland and UNIBO (University of Bologna) in Italy. Additionally, the expertise of the research groups from the coordinated project in genetic resources and wheat quality will ensure the achievement of the objectives of the project.