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TEGERM
Analysis and exploitation of germplasm resources using transposable element molecular markers

The European Union is facing the challenge of improving the genetic diversity in European agriculture to enable it to respond to the demands of the next century. There is a wealth of genetic resources in European gene banks and the main obstacle to exploiting this biodiversity to the benefit of European agriculture is the difficulty in identifying and extracting useful genes from the huge background of non-useful genetic information. The TEGERM project will address this problem by developing and deploying a new kind of high throughput: a molecular marker system based upon a class of naturally occurring transposable genetic elements called retrotransposons. This technology will be used to characterise in detail the genetic diversity of several complete major EU and international germplasm collections for pea, barley, tomato and pepper. The project will test the ability of the new marker system to speed up the extraction of useful genetic characters from the germplasm collections into breeding materials.

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:
1) to develop high throughput marker systems based upon retrotransposons
2) to validate retrotransposon-based marker approaches by comparing them against each other and against the major conventional marker methods
3) to use the validated retrotransposon marker system to characterise in detail the genetic diversity of several major EC and international germplasm collections
4) to assess the potential of retrotransposon markers to facilitate the extraction of characters from germplasm into plan breeding materials.

Results
The retrotransposon-based markers and MITE-based transposon markers that were generated in the TEGERM project are being tested and used in ongoing breeding programmes for pea, barley, tomato and pepper.
A considerable number of seminars, posters and presentations have been given by the project partners on the TEGERM project.
The project website has been continually updated.
Project results have been disseminated by the Plant Industrial Platform.
Joint meetings with other EU-funded projects were a recurrent feature of this project, particularly GENE-MINE and ICONFORS. The TEGERM database GERMINATE was adopted by the GENE-MINE project.
Genebanks will be better characterised as a result of thw TEGERM project and will form a strategic resource important for the exploitation of crop plant biodiversity in Europe.
The prject's development of a new high throughput marker technology is expected to find many users.
TEGERM has demonstrated a cost-effective way of making diversity pay, clearly important for organic farming.

Classified in CEREALS, HORTICULTURE, GENOMICS, BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

Scientist responsible for the project

Mr JAMES HOUSTON
DOW STREET
DD1 5EH Dundee
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 1382 344664
Fax: +44 1382 202178
E-mail: ajflavell@biochem.dundee.ac.uk

References

Project ID QLRT-1999-31502
Organisation University of Dundee
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 December 2000
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 338 120 €
Total EC contribution   1 457 667 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project   http://www.biocenter.helsinki.fi/bi/tegerm

The partners

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