Joint Calls

Comparative genomics of shoot branching

  • Acronym COGS
  • Duration 1 January 2008 - 1 January 2011
  • Project leader Ottoline Leyser, University of York, UK
  • Other project participants Abdelhafid Bendahmane, INRA - Plant Genomics Research Unit URGV, France
    Catherine Rameau, INRA Versailles, France
    Klaus Theres, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Germany
    Jos Heldens*, Enza Zaden BV [Company], The Netherlands
    Pilar Cubas, CSIC National Centre of Biotechnology CNB, Spain
  • Funding National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), France
    Research Centre Juelich – Project Management Juelich (FZJ-PTO) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
    Ministry of Science and Innovation), Spain
    Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK

    *participant with own funding
  • Total Granted budget € 1,073,006


Our project has two objectives:
1. To integrate European expertise on shoot branching control, building a holistic understanding
2. To provide tools to expedite exploitation of the knowledge generated, strengthening European competitiveness in plant breeding for improved shoot system architectures

Shoot branching is a key agronomic trait and changes in branching habit have been central in the domestication of wild species for agricultural use. Continued breeding for improvement in shoot branching characteristics can make important contributions to yield stability. Furthermore, rational approaches for architectural optimisation are essential for ongoing initiatives to increase the diversity of agricultural products through the domestication of additional species, for example to develop bioenergy crops.
The groups collaborating in this proposal encompass expertise in the key gene systems known to regulate branching. It is already clear that these systems have wide relevance across higher plants. However, it is equally clear that there are important differences in the way the systems operate in different species. We therefore propose a systematic comparative study of these gene systems and their interactions in a range of species. This will allow the development of a tool kit for marker assisted breeding for optimised branching habit, and for genetic modification of branching, when it becomes publicly acceptable.

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