Adding Value to the UK Brassica Crop Science Community

A BBSRC Innovations in Crop Science Project

The AdVaB consortium will fill gaps in information and technology to enable research findings relating to Brassica genetics and genomics to be translated more rapidly into practical outcomes, particularly through genetic crop improvement. Researchers and plant breeders will be provided with tools and information to enable explicit understanding of crop traits in terms of the function of underlying genes. This will capitalise on the BBSRC-funded UK contribution to the multinational effort to sequence the complete Brassica 'A' genome, and previous investment in the related reference plant species Arabidopsis.

Brassica crops are major components of UK arable agriculture and horticulture, with opportunity to exploit their vast genetic diversity. Oilseed rape, the primary source of vegetable oil in Northern Europe, is high in polyunsaturates with huge potential to provide new nutritional and renewable non-food products. Brassica vegetables contain beneficial nutrients, with elevated amounts of anti-oxidants, vitamins, anti-carcinogenic compounds, as well as uptake of minerals such as zinc and iron

Reference populations Reference Brassica mapping populations will be made available together with the associated key data sets (genetic linkage map, provenance and quality assurance validation). Seed will be provided in the form of quality assured 'starter packs'. DNA from founder lines of species-specific diversity sets will be made available for molecular allelic screening.

Reverse genetics tools Exploitation of Brassica genome sequence through reverse genetic approaches requires access to TILLING and RNAi capability. B. rapa EMS - TILLING and radiation populations will be developed for induced variation. An RNAi pipeline for down regulation of multiple gene copies will be established initially in B. oleracea and B. napus, and a B. rapa transformation system developed for UK researchers.

Integrated genetic maps Integrated consensus linkage maps for the Brassica A and C genomes with sequence tagged markers and reference 'conserved synteny block' nomenclature will be developed based on existing screening of SSR markers on parent lines. Mapping populations will be scored with polymorphic markers and the data used to generate reference maps based on consensus conserved synteny blocks in common with Arabidopsis.

Collation of QTL data To underpin ongoing trait-led genetic and genomic projects QTL datasets will be collated and prioritised, and converted to a consensus format for comparative analysis. This will also assist in making direct connections between fundamental research and crop-related traits selected in breeding programmes.

The CropStore databaseThe CropStore relational database has been developed to address the need for low maintenance, explicit curation and management of integrated datasets for crop plant genetics. detail

Validation of technologies Validation of the reverse genetic technologies will focus on specific genes with well characterised phenotypic effects, and will allow comparison of the different approaches in polyploid brassicas.

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