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Project structure


WP leader : Xavier Draye (Université Catholique de Louvain)

WP1 develops indicators of target traits associated with yield improvement under fluctuating water deficits and with high water-use efficiency. These indicators, measured in high throughput phenotyping or "omics" platforms (in some cases novel techniques in the field), are based on biological knowledge and compatible with variables used in modelling. They will be evaluated via their heritability, and their ability to help in the interpretation of the genotype x environment interaction in the field for the four target traits. This will be made possible by :

  • the development of models for individual traits and their responses to water deficit,
     statistical models relating field variables to platform indicators.

 WP1 focuses on maize and durum wheat, with specific actions on bread wheat.


WP leader : Alain Charcosset (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

 WP2 provides tools for breeding, based on genetic analyses of the four target traits in maize, bread and durum wheat. We aim to identify associations between the allelic diversity in relevant genes or genomic regions, and the target traits considered via indicators developed in WP1. Orthology between the four target species will be analysed in detail.


WP leader : Graeme Hammer (University of Queensland)


WP3 quantifies the potential contribution of genetic variations in the four target traits to improved crop yield and water-use efficiency in the production environments of Europe. For that, we aim to develop a comprehensive and generic crop model incorporating the understanding of the physiology and genetics of the traits found in WP1 and WP2, and to use the model in simulation studies of trait/allele values. The intent is to establish testable hypotheses in relation to desirable trait/allele combinations for plant breeding in target environments.


WP leader : Bjorn Usadel (Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pfanzenphysiologie)

 The primary objectives of this work package are to provide data management infrastructure for primary data and to provide bioinformatic and statistical tools which aid in data analysis and interpretation. To this aim, background information pertaining to the genetic material and the underlying genes is to be supplied. Furthermore, new integrative tools will be developed which will link to relevant literature, and which organise phenotypic data stored in partner's databases. This will build upon existing databases, infrastructure and tools available at the different partner laboratories which will be extended and adapted to the present task. The databasing activity will thus be distributed over the laboratories where large scale data is being recorded. Consequently, synchronisation, standardization of common ontologies and protocols to be used at different sites to ensure compatibility will represent one major objective. The data and tools will then be linked and integrated to provide a one-stop-shop for all partners using a fine grained access control. The latter information will allow the construction of statistical prediction models for the key traits.


WP Leader : Roberto Tuberosa (Università di Bologna)

The overall objective of WP5 is :

  • to make the best use of DROPS outcomes and diffuse them to the scientific community, breeding companies, stakeholders and general public,
  • to train scientists in the use of up-to-date methods and principles of breeding for tolerance to water deficit via training courses and a website.

WP leader : Olga Mackré (INRA Transfert)

 WP6 has a three-fold objective :

  • At the operational level, it will ensure project progress in conformity with the workplan (milestones, deliverables), and planned resources.
  • At the organisational level, it will optimise infrastructural setup to support the project and ensure quality and conformity to EC rules and procedures. Special attention will be paid to financial, logistics, information issues.
  • At the strategic level, it will address unexpected situations (scientific, technological, environmental or political)
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This project is supported by the European Commission under the
7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development