How can developing
countries become ‘actors’ in the genome revolution?
tools: Breeding oilseed rape varieties for Asia
Rapeseed oil is an edible oil that contains a near
optimal balance of fatty acids for human health and nutrition.
It has found widespread application in the food industry
and is a source of oils for non-food applications. Oilseed
rape represents an excellent cash crop, particularly for
developing countries where the by-product of oil production
– a high quality meal – can be used as animal
Great demand is developing in Asia, but production in Asia
is presently unable to meet that demand, with imports rising
sharply. A European Commission (EC)-funded project (INCO
programme) aims to facilitate the rapid development of cultivars
of oilseed rape that are able to thrive in local conditions
and under low input farming regimes.
The proposed research programme promotes international
RTD co-operation between leading centres for crop genetic
research in Europe and China. The resources generated will
be of benefit to Asian countries and the European Union.
Towards more efficient production of tropical oils
Coconut and oil palm are priority cash crops in
Asia. The oils they yield make them the two most important
oil crops in the Tropics. In view of the time-consuming
process involved in coconut- and oil-palm breeding, modern
molecular technologies such as DNA markers have great potential
to assist in and accelerate breeding programmes.
A European Commission-funded project provides the methodological
basis and molecular tools for improving breeding efficiency
in the two perennial tropical oil crops. It will develop
these DNA marker-based breeding strategies in collaboration
with the most important countries in coconut- and oil-palm
production, and directly transfer small-scale technological
solutions to developing countries.
The project, ‘Construction and exploitation of high
density DNA marker and physical maps in the perennial tropical
oil crops, coconut and oil palm; from biotechnology towards
marker-assisted breeding’, aims to develop the methodological
basis and provide the molecular tools for improving the
breeding efficiency in the two perennial tropical oil crops.