b'Boosting breeders,creating better varietiesHOW THE WHEALBI PROJECT AIMS TO SATISFY AN INCREASING WORLD DEMAND IN WHEAT AND BARLEY.BY: MARCEL BRUINSWHY IT MATTERS G illes Charmet, Coordinator of the WHEALBIGETTING THE PRIVATE BREEDING project and Sbastien Crepieux, ARCADIASECTOR INVOLVEDIn the previous issueInternational, WHEALBI communicationCharmet says the private sector was involved in of European Seed leader, explain there were many reasons why itmany ways. First of all, two breeders participated , we looked at severalwas necessary to start this project. in the consortium: SIS, an SME Italian company new EU ResearchBreeding is constantly evolving, as needswhich was involved in different Work Packages and Innovationfrom the consumer are changing, as the climate(WPs) related to breeding and agronomy, and the projects, suchmay drastically change the way agriculture is per- large German company KWS, which was leading as CHIC, INVITE,formed and as citizens are more and more concernedthe big and very applied WP on pre-breeding, CropBooster-P andby environmental issues, says Charmet. As Europeinvolving many other partners. Secondly, the pri-BRESOV. In thisis the first producer for wheat and barley, it has avate sector was involved through dissemination issue we look atduty to maintain its capacity to satisfy an increas- and communication actions. one of those R&Iing world demand while addressing challenges ofFor example, six training sessions have projects that wasclimate change and sustainability of agriculture. been organized all along the project (running recently finished,Over the last few years, research and breedingfrom 2014 till the end of 2018), many of them tar-namely the WHEALBIalso focused more on the importance of geneticgeting breeders and young breeders, for example project. This projectresources to bring sustainable progress to thethe ones on new phenotyping techniques, or the was started in therelease of new varieties. For these reasons, he says,one on pre-breeding, explains Charmet.beginning of 2014,it was really needed to start this WHEALBI pro- Third, Charmet says they organized a final and stems from theject, which full name is Wheat and Barley Legacystakeholder meeting at the European Seed strong convictionfor Breeding Improvement. Association in Brussels, which was the occa-thatconsideringAt the very beginning of the project, Charmetsion to present directly the results to the asso-the severe globalsays they dreamed of being able to provide wholeciation grouping almost all European breeders changes to improvegenome sequence data of 1,000 wheat-barley varie- and to the European Commission (see: www.wheat and barleyties, as animal geneticists did with the 1,000-bullswhealbi.eu/final-stakeholders-forum-4th-decem-productionitgenome project (www.1000bullgenomes.com/).ber-2018-brussels/). Breeders were also reached will be necessaryHowever, it was not feasible at a reasonable cost andall along the project through targeted newslet-to better exploitthey had to restrict the sequencing to the codingters, the website and videos about the project.knowledge frompart (genes). basic science inBesides, we decided to obtain as many dataACHIEVEMENTS OF THEorder to developas possible on these 1,000 varieties, coming fromWHEALBI PROJECTnew varietiesfield trials and a wide range of specific evalua- According to Crepieux, the main concrete and innovativetions, particularly for adaptive traits (disease,achievements are:cropping systems.frost, drought tolerance), says Crepieux. AndA publicly accessible collection of 1,024 geo-ref-The ultimate targetfinally, these genetic studies were completed byerenced inbred lines of wheat and barley was to improveagronomy, through the testing of a subset of vari- accessions chosen from across the geographic European wheat andeties (covering the observed range of diversity) inrange, to broadly represent the whole species barley productiondifferent cropping systems, including no-tillageand focusing on germplasm more adapted to in competitive and(conservation agriculture, which enables betterEuropean conditions; sustainable croppingcarbon storage in the soil) and organic husbandry. The deep sequence (5-20X) of the exomes of the systems. WHEALBI partners discussing in the field.32IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'