The Rice Germplasm action acquired, evaluated and conserved existing European rice accessions and identified valuable sources of new genes and alleles for relevant agronomic and quality traits to be employed in rice breeding programmes at EU level. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.
The objectives of the action are:
- To establish an active network in the characterisation and exploitation of European and international rice genetic resources of the temperate rice area. We aim at enhancing competitiveness in rice production in terms of conservation of germplasm biodiversity, gene bank repository for identified élite alleles, and identification of genetic resources targeted at sustainable agricultural systems for the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats;
- To alleviate biotic and abiotic constraints typical of the Mediterranean area. This goal will be tackled by means of the acquisition, evaluation and conservation of European rice genetic resources, and identification of new genetic resources targeted at making use of the innovative genomic tools;
- To identify conservation and characterisation of European rice genetic resources;
- To identify valuable sources of new genes and alleles to rice breeding programmes in Europe for pathogen resistance, adaptation to water-limited conditions and to soil salinity.
Actions and means involved
The main platform of the EURIGEN action is the classification, maintenance and regeneration of the European temperate rice germplasm bank. A database and web interface will be developed to ensure the recognition of this collection by the international rice community and the availability of the generated genotypic and phenotypic data to the scientific community. A representative set of rice genotypes will be evaluated in field and controlled conditions for three target agronomic traits: resistance to biotic (M.grisea infection) stress, adaptation to abiotic (reduced water availability and saline soils) constraints. A set of relevant genes and alleles will be genotyped to define their association to the target traits and suitable molecular makers will be identified for their use in breeding programs. The project will also make use of genomics to study the evolution and domestication of European rice for important traits (pericarp red colour), for improved nutritional values (production of antioxidant compounds), for a better exploitation of the new emerging market of pigmented rice.
Relevance to the objectives
The innovative aspect of the EURIGEN action is represented by the integrated application of molecular tools to correlate phenotypic evaluations to genotyping data and specific alleles. The final objective is the exploitation of genetic resources targeted at alleviating biotic and abiotic constraints presently limiting European rice culture competitiveness. The results of this action will support the sustainable development of rice culture in the Mediterranean area by means of the exploitation of novel sources of valuable traits and of agronomic relevance.