ExpoSEED

Abstract

ExpoSEED aims to integrate forward and reverse genetic approaches to dissect the molecular mechanisms that control seed/kernel (hereafter referred as seed) yield in model species and to transfer the acquired knowledge to selected crops as legumes and cereals. The identification of “molecular hubs” that determine seed number and size will put the basis for the development of breeding tools to improve seed production at the beginning of the seed market.
Research on model species has recently allowed to identify key transcription factors that regulate plant reproduction together with exploring the conservation of the molecular mechanisms that finally control the plant fitness in distantly related species. The next challenge is now to deeper dissect the molecular networks controlled by these key factors to finally manipulate agronomic traits.
The partners of ExpoSEED will identify the targets of key transcription factors in model species as Arabidopsis and rice and they will transfer this knowledge to crops, as soybean, wheat and barley. Candidate target genes will be further characterized using genetic and cell-biology tools together with searching new alleles in large panel of wild and cultivated germplasm. As a parallel approach, germplasm collections and segregating populations will be used for mapping studies to identify novel factors controlling seed yield in legumes and cereals.
ExpoSEED aims to create synergies to efficiently address scientific and societal issues. From the scientific perspective, now is the right moment: a number of completed crop genome sequences and novel genetic and cell biology tools will support the comparative biology approaches aimed in this project. Considering the societal issue, food security is a worldwide priority: in the context of population growth and less arable land, increasing food production is one of the challenges for this century.

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WP1: Coordination and management

WP leader Raffaella Battaglia (CREA)

Objectives:
1) Coordination and Implementation of the work plan.
2) Management of the financial and administrative issues including Consortium Agreement preparation.
3) Organization of project meetings.

WP2: Identification of key genes controlling seed yield in dicot species

WP leader Stefan de Folter (CINVESTAS)

Objectives:
1) Identify key genes involved in gynoecium patterning and fertilization competence in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana
2) Transfer the acquired knowledge to Glicine max (soybean).

WP3: Identification of key genes controlling seed yield in monocot species

WP leader Dabing Zhang (UA)

Objectives:
1) Identify key genes involved in floral meristem determination in O. sativa.
2) Transfer the acquired knowledge to wheat and barley.

WP4: Allele mining for candidate genes

WP leader Elisabetta Caporali (UMIL)

Objective:
1) Identify genomic variants for key factors that control seed yield in model and crop species.

WP5: Functional analysis of key factors controlling seed yield in model and crops species

WP leader Cristina Ferrandiz (CSIC)

Objective:
1) Functional characterization of novel factors controlling seed yield in model and crop species.

WP6: Forward genetics approaches to identify novel factors controlling seed yield in soybean, barley and wheat

WP leader Viviana Echnique (CONICET)

Objectives:
1) Identify novel loci involved in grain yield determination in selected crops as soybean, barley and wheat.
2) Develop molecular markers to assist breeding programs for seed yield improvement.

WP7: Dissemination and Training

WP leader Viktor Korzun (KWS)

Objectives:
1. Training
2. Dissemination and communication