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Pulse Crop Genetic Improvement Network - CH0103

Pulses constitute an efficient source of plant-derived protein for human consumption and for animal feed, potentially replacing imported soya. In 2012 the UK imported 348,000 tonnes of leguminous vegetables and pulses worth £318million, and exported 264,000 tonnes, earning £106million.
Pulse crops require minimal fertilizing inputs while acting as an effective break crop thanks to biological nitrogen fixation and their efficiency in using soil phosphorus reserves. These crops can contribute to Defra’s objective to optimise the productivity of the agri-food sector while simultaneously reducing the impact on the environment, and to the new greening measures in the Common Agricultural Policy, in particular the requirement for crop diversification and three crops.
The Defra funded PCGIN brings together the John Innes Centre (JIC), The Processors and Growers Research Organization (PGRO), the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and the pulse crop commercial sector to provide core scientific research for the translation of vining pea, field bean and lupin genetics and genomic tools to crop improvement.
Stakeholder involvement was instrumental in the two previous projects in defining and prioritising traits to be studied and will be fundamental in this new phase. The principal traits targeted were aimed at improving crop performance and reliability as well as colour stability, but much remains to be done to achieve the potential benefits and practical uptake of pulse crops and make them fully acceptable within more farmers’ economic model that requires reliable yield and value. This addresses a continued market failure caused by the fragmented nature of the industry, where no player is big enough on its own to want to take the financial risk of R&D projects of this nature.
The previous projects showed the benefits genetic knowledge and co-design with stakeholders can bring to the sustainable production of pulses and this new phase will build on the existing strategic network of stakeholders encompassing the main academic and industrial interests (including HDC), to identify more new traits that should be priorities and to provide a route for market delivery of R&D outcomes or to feed into new cut-crossing government strategies. It will also utilise the legacy of QDips (industry partnership) collaboration that Defra has supported

This project aims to produce novel pre-competitive genetic information to create a set of pulse crops (vining peas, field bean and lupin) tailored to manage risks and contingencies in the UK's changing rural economy and environment with the final objective of enhancing British horticulture competitiveness. It will build on and use the existing strategic network of stakeholders created by two previous projects, to identify the traits that should be priorities and to provide a route for market delivery of R&D outcomes. The novel traits taken forward in this project will be the ones highlighted by stakeholders as valuable for the industry and UK market demands as well as the ones with potential to be up taken in new cross government strategies such as TSB-SAFIP and Agri-tech. 

PC-GIN will sustain and where possible, enlarge the stakeholder network meanwhile attracting supplementary funding, it will continue to engage with wide-ranging projects in UK, EU and world-wide to maximise opportunities for UK legume crop improvement.
This project will produce new mapping populations for important commercial traits (i.e. disease R and seed composition) in pea and faba bean and subsequently manage field trials of selected lines to facilitate the incorporation of genes from these into breeding programmes. This project will develop new molecular markers for seed quality and other traits predicted to expand pulses’ market potential for both human and animal consumption and will ensure the uptake of modern breeding programmes, including those based on transcriptome and new genome sequencing techniques.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2015

To: 2017

Cost: £433,719
Contractor / Funded Organisations
John Innes Centre (BBSRC)
Biotech-non GM