The project will result in :
Novel phenotyping methods which allow relevant and high-throughput analyses of traits associated with tolerance to water deficit and water-use efficiency. This will save money and time of breeding programmes aimed to improve drought tolerance and water-use efficiency.
- Identification of genomic regions and genetic markers (whenever possible, causal polymorphisms in genes or regulatory regions) associated with target traits. These genomic regions and markers will be available for breeding new genotypes by private seed companies represented in the consortium.
- Assessment of the effects of marker alleles, in different field drought scenarios in Europe. The outputs will be geographical maps for the comparative interest of specific alleles. This will help breeders in the choice of phenotypic traits, alleles and markers for use in different European regions.
- A generic model allowing us to test the effects of alleles in maize and wheat as a function of climatic scenarios. This will be achieved by integrating detailed models of functions into a generic crop model which can predict yield, biomass, transpiration and water-use efficiency. This model will be made available to European companies and to the public sector for evaluating germplasm.
On a longer term, DROPS will allow :
- Increased knowledge on physiology, genetic controls of plant responses to water stress and on mechanisms for increasing plant water-use efficiency
- Supporting crop improvement strategies for developing cultivars with better fitness to unfavorable climatic scenarios
- Translating results from the laboratory to the field
- A European agriculture better adapted to forecasted restrictions in water availability.
This project is supported by the European Commission under the