WP 2: Breeding strategies for more sustainable agricultural production systems

The main objective of WP2 in  is the improvement of diverse winter wheat populations, previously developed by KU-FÖP and TU-PE, in order to produce breeding material that contributes to more sustainable agricultural production systems. WP2 is divided into three main subtasks, which focus 2.1) on the performance of the CC populations and inbred lines under varying input levels, 2.2) the testing and application of novel breeding approaches to improve CCPs under specific environmental conditions, and 2.3) the determination of diversity of the populations as influenced by environmental conditions.

Task 2.1 will test whether specific adaptation has occurred in the previously developed CC populations by testing them under high and low input conditions. In addition to the diverse populations, a number of wheat lines that have previously been selected from the CCPs, as well as a number of commercial varieties, will be tested under the same differential input conditions. In addition, a selected number of CCP lines and commercial varieties will be grown under a larger range of input conditions in order to test whether the optimum harvest index for grain yield is determined on input level/productivity of the environment.

Task 2.2 aims to create an improved CCP (iCCP) through the introgression of high-yielding commercial varieties. The improved iCCP will later be tested against the original CCPs to determine breeding progress.

Task 2.3 aims to determine the diversity within the CC populations. The quantification of the population diversity (allelic frequencies) will be used to identify environmental conditions that may have contributed to changes in diversity, to correlate the stability/performance of the populations with this diversity and lastly, to quantify heterozygosity in the populations in order to calculate the outcrossing rate and effective population size to be able to conserve diversity. This task will also make use of the diverse populations for association mapping and in order to determine the chromosomal position of morphological traits of interest under differing input environments. In addition, the advantages/disadvantages of marker use for selection in CCPs will be analyzed.