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index by sub-area 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems
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Genetic diversity in agriculture: temporal flux, sustainable productivity and food security *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-00934
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 3,192,593 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,939,594 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems

Abstract:
The overall objective of this project is to develop a scientifically based framework for determination of any changes in genetic diversity over time in four very widely grown agricultural crops (wheat, barley, maize and potatoes). Any enlargement of the genetic base or genetic erosion that may have occurred over the past 60 years in these crops will be determined and evaluated using advanced DNA marker tools. The project includes econometric analysis of diversity trends and will help clarify the relationship between breeding and crop genome evolution. Any risk to the genetic base of the major crops in European agriculture will become evident. Recommendations will be made for routine and cost-effective monitoring of any changes and subsequent manipulation of genetic diversity as an element of sustainable agricultural practices. These will help inform policy-making underpinning the strategic infrastructure of sustainable agriculture on a European-wide basis.

Objectives:
To measure and compare over time, changes in levels of genetic diversity and erosion within and between current and previous varieties of important European crops (wheat, barley, maize and potatoes), using advanced DNA-profiling methods, providing data over 50 to 60 years. To assess the impact of variety evaluation systems: Plant Breeders Rights (PER), National Lists (NL), Recommended Lists (RL) or equivalent on genetic erosion and on the delivery of an appropriate level of crop genetic diversity to the field. And to examine the consequences for yield and quality of the chosen crops of the adoption of policies in the variety evaluation process which deliver to the farmer an increase in crop genetic diversity for productive use. Also to develop proposals for monitoring genetic diversity and erosion in European variety evaluation systems, using molecular and statistical analysis of candidate varieties and interpretation for incorporation into recommendations for variety use.


Coordinator
James REEVES
National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Applied Technology Department
Cambridge
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1223342272
Fax: +44 1223277602
E-mail: james.reeves@niab.com


Partners
  Arjen van TUNEN
Plant Research International B.V., Dept. Biodiversity and Identity
Wageningen
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 317477046
Fax: +31 317418094
E-mail: a.j.vantunen@plant.wag-ur.nl
  Mary ANDERSON
John Innes Centre, Cereals Department
Norwich
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1603450244
Fax: +44 1603450016
E-mail: mary.anderson@bbsrc.ac.uk
  Elgar ROEDLER
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population Genetics
Stuttgart
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 7114593000
Fax: +49 7114593289
E-mail: Kanzler@uni-hohenheim.de
  Yvette DATTEE
Biogeves / Geves
Surgeres
FRANCE
Tel.: +33 1 30833620
Fax: +33 1 30833539
E-mail: direction@geves.fr
  Bernd EISE
Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Department of Cytogenetics
Gatersleben
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 3948254195219
Fax: +49 3948252865500
E-mail: eise@ipk-gatersleben.de