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Pre-breeding for sustainable plant production. Nova PhD course, January 2012 at Röstånga in Southern Sweden. Nova is a Nordic University Network.
Pre-breeding provides an important element in broadening the genetic diversity and introducing new and useful traits and properties to the food crops. New traits introduced in pre-breeding activities are not least important to meet the new challenges agriculture will face from the on-going climate change. The needed genetic diversity is often available outside of the genepool of cultivars and elite breeding lines. And sources of novel genetic diversity such as the primitive crops and even the wild relatives of the cultivated plants are expected to get increased focus when facing new challenges in agriculture.
The GBIF data portal provides information on in situ occurrences for many of the wild relatives to the cultivated plants that are not (yet) collected and accessioned by the ex situ seed genebank collections. The GBIF data portal will therefore provide a very valuable bridge between these data sources for genebank accessions and occurrence data sources outside of the genebank community. Occurrences from the GBIF data portal will assist in the identification of locations where potentially useful populations of crop wild relatives can be found. Ecological niche modeling provides a widely used approach for predicting species distributions and can be used for this purpose.
Recent work on predictive modeling to identify a link between useful crop traits and eco-geographic data associated with the source locations for germplasm may have particular value for pre-breeding efforts. The Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy (FIGS) provides and approach for efficient identification of germplasm material with new and useful genetic diversity for a target trait property. Such predictive modeling approaches are of particular interest when performing pre-breeding because of the high costs related to working with this material. Cultivated plants are domesticated for properties and traits such as non-shattering seed behavior and more uniform harvest time that makes conducting agricultural experiments easier and less costly. Non-domesticated germplasm material and also the older cultivars and landraces have many agro-botanical traits that was moderated in modern cultivars to better suit agricultural practices and efficiency. Pre-breeding is largely about removing such undesired traits from the non-cultivated and less intensively domesticated material while maintaining potentially useful traits.
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