Project: Capitalization of Mediterranean maize germplasm for improving stress tolerance

Duration 01/06/2021 - 01/06/2024
Project Topic Drought is the main problem of agriculture worldwide and the situation is expected to get worse with climate change. Agriculture in the Mediterranean area could be particularly damaged and one of the primary menaces is agro-diversity depletion. Maize is one of the most important crops worldwide and is a model crop in plant breeding; however, it is especially vulnerable to abiotic stresses (heat and drought) encountered in a scenario of climate change. The objectives of DROMAMED are to: 1) assemble germplasm collections of maize adapted to Mediterranean dry areas, pooling and evaluating stress-resistant varieties from the national collections, 2) support innovative farming systems by promoting quality and sustainability of agricultural models based on organic and family agriculture, 3) study genetic factors involved in maize adaptation to drought and heat stress, 4) investigate the physiological and morphological mechanisms involved in maize responses to stresses, 5) establish predictive models and selection criteria for breeding programs focusing on tolerance to stress (phenotypic, marker assisted and genomic selection models will be designed to improve tolerance to individual and combined stresses), and 6) release new stress tolerant varieties and knowledge for being used by stakeholders; all these achievements will contribute to the sustainability of production and mitigation of the effects of stress in present and future climate scenarios. DROMAMED intends to 1) valorize the germplasm collections maintained in Mediterranean countries, with entries that have been selected for adaptation to a large diversity of stressful environments, 2) promote innovative crop management practices to increase quality and sustainability of organic and family agricultural systems, 3) capitalize current and new knowledge about mechanisms of tolerance to abiotic stresses, and 4) develop selection methods that will increase our ability to improve breeding approaches enhancing maize tolerance to abiotic stresses. DROMAMED will contribute to the progress of knowledge beyond the state of the art by dissecting the genetic, biochemical, morphological and physiological mechanisms underlying stress tolerance, providing useful tools and materials to capitalize the diversity of maize for cultivation under low inputs in the Mediterranean area and thus leading to rescue germplasm for future agriculture. The social impact will be encouraged in DROMAMED reling on close contacts between associations that represent the needs of producers and researchers to gather precise information on demands of stakeholders, try to fulfil as much as possible those demands, and transfer to growers technical knowledge to facilitate cultivation of the released drought tolerant populations. These associations are the Spanish Society for Organic Agriculture (SEAE), the Italian Maize Growers Association (AMI), the Italian Confederation Agricultural Producers (COPAGRI), the Breeding Cattle Associations of Antalya Province of Turkey (BCAAT), and the Organic Agriculture Association of Turkey (ETO).
Website visit project website
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 Call 2020 - Multi-topic

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Coordinator Spain
2 Universidade de Vigo Partner Spain
3 École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique Partner Algeria
4 Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) Gatersleben Partner Germany
5 Génétique quantitative et Evolution - Le Moulon Partner France
6 University of Bologna Partner Italy
7 Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'Analisi del l'Economia Agraria Partner Italy
8 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Partner Morocco
9 Universidade NOVA de Lisboa Partner Portugal
10 Institut National Agronomique de Tunisia Partner Tunisia
11 Bati Akdeniz Agricultural Research Institute Partner Türkiye