Project: Genomic selection of wheat varieties for robustness, yield and quality

Wheat provides one fifth of the food calories and is first as a source of protein to humans (Braun et al. 2010). Grain yield and quality improvement will have to be addressed to meet the increasing demand. In GENOWHEAT an international phenotypic selection approach will be extended by development of a new Genomic Selection (GS) strategy. GS is already revolutionizing cattle breeding and breeding of field crops such as corn. Expertise from BOKU University division of Livestock Sciences in Vienna will be transferred to the wheat crop._x000D__x000D_The goal of GENOWHEAT is to develop robust, high yielding common wheat and durum wheat varieties meeting the agronomic demands of farmers and quality demands of millers, pasta industry and consumers. This covers the whole production chain “from field to fork” in Central and East European (CEE) countries and Turkey. None of the project participants can reach this goal alone._x000D__x000D_The project consortium led by the Turkish breeding company ProGen Seed Inc. (PG) combines profound knowledge and expertise in the fields of crop management, seed production, breeding, product quality testing, molecular plant breeding, biometrics and statistical genetics. The approach of genomic selection will be applied for the first time in this important crop plant (wheat) in our target area (Central to South-East Europe) to bring genetic improvement to the market in as short time as possible. _x000D__x000D_Early breeding generations and double haploid populations out of a gene pool identified as suitable in an earlier Eurostars project will be pre-screened for abiotic stress resistance and general adaptation in Turkey and for disease resistance, yield potential and product quality in Austria. Selected lines will be evaluated ("phenotyped") for robustness, yield and quality in seven countries during three years._x000D__x000D_This material will be characterised on a molecular level ("genotyped") using a new SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) -array that will be available at project start; alternatively DArT (Diversity Array Technology) will be used. Genotyping of the genetic material is not only needed for the establishment of the new genomic selection procedure, but also as a tool for germplasm protection and for seed purity control. As a side effect, genetic diversity is monitored and introduction of more biodiversity encouraged. Basis for a long-term collaboration of the Ps is laid by starting new crossing cycles and material development within this project._x000D__x000D_Selection indices are developed for ensuring robustness, COly based on stable grain and protein yield across environments. Adaptive traits, biotic and abiotic stress resistance will be taken into account. A selection index for technological quality parameters in bread and durum wheat will be created._x000D_Besides biotic stresses which are observed in the regular field trials in all countries, like rusts, powdery mildew and leaf blotch, fusarium head blight resistance receives special attention in order to ensure healthy products. This topic is met on the one hand by specifically designed resistance testing in inoculated field trials by Saatzucht Donau (SZD) and mycotoxin analysis by ÖMV (Austrian Millers Association)._x000D__x000D_After establishment of a GS model, GS is used in young generations in order to optimally allocate the limited multi-location field trial resources to the most promising set of improved genotypes. International field trials and quality laboratory testing will continue also in the long run, these activities are needed for continuous model updating. Variety candidates will be defined for application to national list trials in several countries by the project Ps. With the most advanced material, market shall be reached within two years after project completion. _x000D__x000D_GENOWHEAT integrates multi-environment field testing of new genetic material in seven countries with the newest advances in plant breeding related genomics, in order to provide robust genetic material to the seed market in several countries. Thereby GENOWHEAT not only favours genetic diversity in Europe but also the wealth of arising private small and medium-sized seed companies (SMEs). This project will deliver novel scientific results for wheat breeding in general, especially on the merits and limitations of GS in wheat._x000D__x000D_Collaboration of all six participants in varying combinations within six work packages allows a straight-forward approach to our goal of providing high quality bread and durum wheat seed to farmers in CEE and Turkey. Benefits will be shared by means of licence agreements. All Ps want to take advantage of robust varieties which can counterbalance the very remarkable year – to – year yield and price variations due to drought and heat stress in CEE countries, Austria and Turkey.

Acronym GENOWHEAT (Reference Number: 6399)
Duration 01/09/2011 - 31/08/2014
Project Topic The GENOWHEAT project will apply genomic selection (GS) for the first time in wheat and durum for Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to bring improvement of robustness, yield and quality to the market in minimum time.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Technology transfer _x000D_Know how developement_x000D_new analytical methods_x000D_
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 6

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
6 Österreichische Mühlenvereinigung Partner Austria
6 ProGen Seed Inc. Coordinator Turkey
6 Saatzucht Donau GmbH&CoKG Partner Austria
6 Lajtamag Mezogazdasági Termelo, Szolgáltató és Kereskedelmi Korlátolt Felelosségu Társaság Partner Hungary
6 Universität für Bodenkultur Wien - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna Partner Austria