Biotechnology and innovative tools

The aim of this workpackage is to discover and evaluate genes and technologies that enable the prediction of seed quality in crop plants and wild species. The identified genes can be useful in breeding programs as genetic markers associated with seed quality and resilience to perturbation. Several seed quality genes will be selected from the "omics" approaches in workpackages 1 and 3. The role of these genes in seed quality responses to abiotic stresses during seed development will be determined using genetic methods. In addition, Arabidopsis and barley genes that determine seed quality will be identified by map-based cloning and association mapping from ongoing research programs in the labs of several EcoSeed partners. The influence of known factors that control seed quality will also be studied in more detail by analysing the influence of maternal ABA, flavonoid accumulation and the transcriptional network on seed longevity and stress tolerance. In addition to genetic markers, novel technologies like High-Field Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (HFEPR) and Activity-Based Protein Profiling (ABPP) have the potential to evaluate the quality of harvested seeds at low costs and will be tested in this context.

Workpackage leader: Dr. Wim Soppe