FA COST Action FA0903
Harnessing plant reproduction for crop improvement
Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.
The main objective of the Action was to understand the mechanisms of sexual/apomictic plant reproduction and to facilitate the use of this increased knowledge in the development of new approaches in biotechnology, agriculture and food industry through improved crops. Although most desirable crop traits are polygenic, no plant breeding tools exist, which allow the efficient fixation of multigenic traits over successive generations. Among several reproductive system-related strategies for fixation of desirable agronomic traits, one of the best choices is apomixis (i.e. clonal seed production) that would enable the instantaneous fixation of the complete genome of the best plants. For instance, apomixis technology would allow the fixation of heterosis in F1 hybrids. Moreover, when coupled with male-sterility systems, apomictic reproduction (with no need for male contribution) could help in addressing issues related to transgene escape from GM crops to organic or conventional crops, and thereby allow for better coexistence systems in Europe. The overall goal of the Action was to allow for a synergy of inter-related European and international expertise to better understand the mechanisms of sexual/apomictic plant reproduction and to facilitate the application of this increased knowledge in the development of new approaches for agriculture and food industry to increase productivity.