Developing enhanced breeding methodologies for oats for human health and nutrition SEE 11855

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Funding

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: £961,289.72

Funder Project Reference(s)

unknown
Effective start/end date15 Sep 201414 Sep 2019

Description

The central objective of this proposal is to apply state of the art high throughput breeding and phenotyping approaches to the genetic improvement of oats, focusing on yield, and grain and milling quality, key targets for the economic sustainability of the crop and for the milling industry. The project addresses some of the major challenges facing UK agriculture in terms of the sustainable production of safe and nutritous food.

The overall aim of this LINK project is to incorporate high throughput approaches to the IBERS oat breeding programme, to develop strategies to improve yield and other targets ranked as priorities by our industrial partners which are currently difficult or impossible to select for at early stages of breeding cycles. Marker assisted selection (MAS) represents one route to achieve this. It has been successful for introgression of major traits controlled by one or a few genes of large effect, but is difficult with more complex traits governed by many genes, each with a small effect. MAS is used in the IBERS oat breeding programme, largely based on predictions derived from a few markers linked to large effect quantitative trait loci (QTL). Association mapping (AM) will be used to identify further marker-trait associations enabling rapid selection or introgression within the breeding programme. In this project, genomic selection (GS) will be applied to a range of traits, and selections will be validated by comparison with breeder and conventional marker assisted (MAS) selections. Increasingly complex models will be developed in the course of the programme, and an accelerated breeding cycle driven by GS and MAS will be initiated. Traits which may predict yield will be identified by detailed phenomic and field trial analysis of a model winter oat population and an association genetics panel of advanced breeding lines. Metabolic profiling and micro-scale analytical methods will be used to develop further predictive screens. Chip-based high throughput genotyping will be used to predict breeding values; genotype and phenotype data will be incorporated into a pedigree database to further facilitate 'intelligent' breeding design. The existing Illumina 6K iSelect bead assay will be expanded to include SNPs identified from UK winter and European germplasm which have significantly different genetic bases from the bulk of varieties used to develop the initial assay set. Genotyping by Sequencing will become the main platform by the end of the project to take advantage of expected sequence throughput improvements.

This project proposal addresses sustainable agricultural production at the interface of two BBSRC strategic priority areas: crop science and healthy and safe food. It is of high strategic relevance, specifically in enhancing crop productivity and quality, enhanced nutritional composition, increasing sustainability of crop production and understanding and exploiting genomics and the genetic diversity in plants (crop science). It will also investigate the potential of novel nutrient supplies from plants (healthy and safe food).

This proposal is being submitted through the BBSRC stand-alone LINK scheme. The project will benefit from the involvement of the major oat variety development company in the UK (Senova) and the British Oat and Barley Millers Association (BOBMA) representing the major oat milling companies within the UK such as PepsiCo/Quaker, Morning Foods, European Oat Millers, Grampian Oats, Hogarths and SpeediCook. Involvement of industrial partners will allow for identification and review of key targets and delivery of the outcomes of this project alongside the academic partners.