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OREGIN - Pre-breeding research to support climate change adaptation and reduction of the environmental footprint of Oilseed rape - IF0144

This project forms the focal point of the Defra Oilseed Rape Genetic Improvement Network (OREGIN) which aims to facilitate more sustainable production of oilseed rape (OSR), including adaptation to climate change, through genetic improvement of the crop.

There has been market failure in R&D supporting crop breeding because of bottlenecks in the pipeline leading from basic research to applied breeding and cultivar (variety) production. These bottlenecks relate to screening for and capturing genetic diversity as well as understanding the genetic basis of selectable traits. This situation severely limits the ability of the private sector OSR breeding companies to introduce new cultivars with properties that could lead to more sustainable production systems by reducing non-renewable inputs and the environmental footprint associated with cultivation of arable land.

In its first phase, OREGIN has been successful in establishing a functional network of researchers and breeders representing the breeding R&D pipeline. It has also identified and assembled key genetic resources that will enable stakeholders to explore and exploit gene-pools as novel sources of traits that will contribute ‘enhanced sustainability’ for incorporation into new cultivars.

OREGIN is now able to address the requirements of Defra by priming the breeding R&D pipeline to enable breeders to deliver public goods via the generation of new OSR cultivars. This requires development of a pre-breeding toolkit comprised of novel genetic variation plus genetic markers and maps which enable traits and genes to be located and followed during the breeding process as they are introgressed into new cultivars. An additional key component is the integrated datasets which relate the genetic resources to trait components of interest to breeders. A crucial aspect of the activity is analysis and delivery of information in an appropriate form to enable dialogue and delivery from ongoing R&D through to breeder and the ultimate deployment of new cultivars with the necessary beneficial impact on sustainable agriculture and the environment.

The main OREGIN project will generate and bring together the relevant research, genetic knowledge, expertise and resources for the pre-breeding required to enable the genetic improvement of OSR. OREGIN exploits existing well-established technology delivery mechanisms from breeder to market. The work will concentrate on traits relevant to sustainability of agricultural systems while enabling the OREGIN network to access and deploy all relevant research resources and outputs - from knowledge derived from studies on basic biology (e.g. BBSRC responsive mode and EU funding) through to the applied studies that are derived from collaborations between the strong UK research base and the plant breeding industry.
The activities and deliverables from OREGIN will address specific gaps in knowledge, information and resources that have been prioritised as essential to ensuring that LINK and other projects deliver directly via crop genetic improvement. As a result, it is expected that OREGIN will contribute to significant changes in farming over the coming decade.

The primary goal of OREGIN is to provide a comprehensive, stable and reliable platform of resources and information for the exploitation of genetic diversity, to underpin pre-breeding activities. By acting as the hub for the UK OSR R&D sector, the project will enable the network of stakeholders to draw down strategic objectives to a set of crop-related themes and specific traits. The ongoing dialogue amongst the network will focus on identifying hypothesis-driven studies that enable beneficial crop traits to be dissected to a level that crop breeders can incorporate relevant alleles into breeding new varieties.

The key deliverables will take the form of a breeders and pre-breeding 'toolkit'. This requires i) genetic markers in the context of reference linkage maps; ii) a defined range of germplasm representing significant, useful allelic variation; iii) information to place these resources in context of trait variation amenable to breeding selection. This will be achieved via the following objectives:

1. Maintain and develop OREGIN seed and pathogen genetic resources, and enable resolution and introgression of useful variation

2. Quantify and characterise genetic variation for key traits

3. Delivering the pre-breeding toolkit: provision of integrated information to maximise utilisation of genetic diversity
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : Evid4 IF0144 Final Report   (1413k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2014

Cost: £1,555,357
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University of York, John Innes Centre (BBSRC), Rothamsted Research (BBSRC), Warwick - HRI
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Allocated - WHRI              
Crop Diseases              
Crop Improvement              
Integrated Farming Systems              
Plant Genetic Resources              
Plant Varieties and Seeds              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Sustainable Farming Systems