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Control of flowering time for sustainable and competitive agriculture and forestry *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-01412
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 4,355,171 EUR
EC Contribution: 2,571,761 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems

Abstract:
A consortium representing European academia and the biotech industry will be formed to address several related agricultural and forestry problems. Widely applicable genetic tools that will allow the control of flowering time in a wide variety of plant species will be developed towards three aims:
1) Biological containment in crops where the vegetative parts are harvested to limit the spread of genes from transgenic crops into non-transgenic plants and the natural environment;
2) Fine-tuning of flowering time in crop plants to improve the long-term sustainability of European agriculture and forestry by allowing greater yield and flexibility of plant production; and
3) Creation of novel breeding tools for the temporary conversion of slow-to-mature forest and fruit tree varieties to rapid-cycling breeding lines. This will make traditional plant breeding programmes available for trees and lead to long-term sustainability of the European forestry and fruit production industries.


Objectives:
Our objective is to develop widely applicable genetic tools that will allow the control of flowering time - spanning the range from introduction of early flowering to a complete inhibition of flowering. These technologies will be the highly relevant to European agriculture and forestry.

The main achievements will be:
1) Biological containment - the prevention of flowering in order to safeguard the separation between transgenic plants and other plants, i.e., organically grown crops and natural relatives;
2) Fine-tuning of flowering time - the ability to make small changes in the timing of flowering, either acceleration or delay, in order to optimise the time of seed production; and
3) Accelerated improvement of woody species - novel breeding tools for the temporary conversion of slow-to-mature forest and fruit tree varieties to rapid-cycling breeding lines in order to revolutionise the ability to improve woody species through conventional breeding techniques.


Coordinator
Klaus K. NIELSEN
DLF-TRIFOLIUM A/S, RESEARCH DIVISION
Store Heddinge
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 56503023
Fax: +45 56503524
E-mail: Klaus.k.nielsen@risoe.dk


Partners
  Anders ERICSSON
Department of forest genetics and plant physiology, Att. Ove Nilsson
Umeaa
SWEDEN
Tel.: +46 907865730
Fax: +46 907865901
E-mail: Anders.Ericsson@genfys.slu.se
  Joergen HONORÉ
Plant biology and biogeochemistry department
Roskilde
DENMARK
Tel.: +45 46774602
Fax: +45 46774607
E-mail: joergen.honore@risoe.dk
  Juan NEGUEROLES
Research Department
Zaragoza
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 976469459
Fax: +34 976442312
E-mail: jnegueroles@frutascachirulo.com
  Ben VOSMAN
Plant development and reproduction / Plant research International b.v.
Wageningen
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 317476980
Fax: +31 317418094
E-mail: b.vosman@plant.wag-ur.nl
  Enrico PÈ
Dipartimento di genetica e biologia dei microrganismi
Milano
ITALY
Tel.: +39 0226605203
Fax: +39 022664551
E-mail: enrico.pe@unimi.it
  Teuvo POHJOLAINEN
Department of biology
Joensuu
FINLAND
Tel.: +358 13251111
Fax: +358 132512050
E-mail: teuvo.pohjolainen@joensuu.fi
  Mariano ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ
Centro nacional de biotecnologia
Madrid
SPAIN
Tel.: +34 915854503
Fax: +34 915854506
E-mail: mesteban@cnb.uam.es
  Mary ANDERSON
Molecular genetics department, John Innes Centre
Norwich
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1603450244
Fax: +44 1603450016
E-mail: mary.anderson@bbsrc.ac.uk