Translating knowledge on flowering time to improve breeding efficiency
ADAPTAWHEAT will show how flowering time variation can be exploited for the genetic improvement of the European wheat crop to optimise adaptation and performance in the light of predicted climate change. It will test current hypotheses that postulate specific changes in ear emergence and the timing and duration of developmental phases, which are thought of as components of ear emergence, will improve wheat productivity. Precise genetic stocks varying in specific flowering time elements and subjected to genotyping and characterisation with diagnostic markers for key flowering time genes will be used to test these hypotheses.
The genetic stocks will be phenotyped at the molecular (transcript abundance), physiological (growth stage dissection) and agronomic (yield components) levels in multiple field trials located at sites in Europe that represent regional agricultural diversity and at non European locations that have mega environments of relevance.
Controlled environment experiments will investigate specific environmental interactions including day length, ambient temperature, and heat stress. Data analysis will aid the construction of new wheat flowering models that can be used to refine existing hypotheses. They will allow standing genetic variation for flowering time in European germplasm to be deployed more efficiently in wheat breeding programmes.
This knowledge will be used to inform searches for specific phenotypic and molecular variants in diverse and non adapted wheat germplasm panels provided by consortium members. Vital novel genetic variation will be efficiently imported into the germplasm of European wheat breeders.
The project will deliver new diagnostic markers for genotyping, molecular reporters for novel breeding selection strategies and the tools and knowledge necessary for a combined physiology and genomics led predictive wheat breeding programme. A conduit for these outcomes will be three SMEs, who will exploit the tools developed to deliver these outcomes.