Improving brassica crops through Brassica Rapeseed and Vegetable Optimisation (BRAVO)

Brassica species encompass a diverse range of economically important crop species worth in excess of $20 billion worldwide.

The UK oilseed rape and Brassica vegetable markets alone are worth in excess of £1B/annum.

Losses in these crops can exceed 20% and are heavily influenced by unfavourable weather patterns. As such, adapting them to buffer against climate variables represents a complex challenge for agriculture. The BRAVO Project is in a unique position to help.

BRAVO is a multi-disciplinary research project spanning several UK research institutions and working closely with industrial stakeholders, with the aim of getting a better understanding of how seasonal and environmental cues affect the genetic control of plant developmental transitions in Brassica crops to improve reliability, yield and quality.

Brassica species contain a wealth of natural variation that can be exploited to improve crops. BRAVO is using this variation, alongside state-of-the art technology, to understand the gene networks controlling flowering time and study how these networks affect all developmental stages, from vegetative growth to seed production.

Determining the relationships between genes, traits and the environment will provide a new understanding of how plant development is influenced by the environment which will aid targeted crop improvement to secure future yields.

The outputs from this project will be available for use by industry and academic researchers for future crop development.