The characterisation of plant genetic resources is essential to increase the
biodiversity of the food chain. Our group includes research teams for the characterisation of winter
cereals, grain legumes, vegetables and industrial crop collections. Our research lines are:
Multiplication and agro-morphological characterisation
multiplication of the varieties is carried out using the most suitable methods
to be properly preserved. This multiplication is essential to maintain living materials and handle user requests.
The agro-morphological and molecular characterisation of the materials allow the identification of the varieties and errors in the collections. The
descriptors published by Bioversity International (https://www.bioversityinternational.org/e-library/publications/categories/descriptors/) are used for the agro-morphological characterisation Wheat_CRF.PDF. In the cereal collections, we analyzed the endosperm proteins to complete the agro-morphological characterisation.
In the period
2015-2019, we have multiplied and / or characterized (including wild species related to some of these crops):
- 1000 cereal varieties (wheat, oat, rye and barley)
- 874varieties of legumes of autumn sowing (faba bean, chickpea, lentil, single-flowered vetch, narbon vetch, fenugreek, pea, common vetch, hairy vetch, bitter vetch, grass pea and vetchling)
- 70 varieties of beans and 55 of cowpea of spring sowing
- 650 varieties of vegetables and industrial crops.
- In addition, data on protein and phenol content are available for different varieties of narbon vetch, fenugreek and chickpea.
The wheat collections have been characterized with high-throughput genotyping techniques in the framework of a collaboration project with the Polytechnic University of Madrid. This analysis has shown that
traditional varieties have greater genetic diversity than modern varieties in some areas that include
genes related to important agronomic traits. Traditional varieties are also divided into groups, showed genetic differences. This information is very useful to select germplasm for pre-breeding to obtain more adapted varieties.
For the forage legume
Vicia sativa, we have used
transcriptomic studies to identify molecular mechanisms involved in the response and tolerance to drought. Also, polymorphic variants have been identified to design molecular markers associated with tolerance to this stress.
Thevetch collection has been genotyped with molecular markers, which can also be used in 16 species of Vicia.
Creation of core collections
cereal and legume collections have hundreds of varieties. So, their study to find interesting characters is expensive and difficult.
The development of subsets of varieties, or
core collections, which represent the variability of
the collection in a smaller number of varieties facilitates the evaluation of the collections.
In collaboration with other research teams,
we have created the durum and common wheat core collections using high-throughput genotyping data.
have 94 genotypes, which represent the geographic, agronomic and genetic variability of the complete collection conserved at INIA-CRF.
The vetch core collection, created using passport data and agro-morphological characters, is being validated with molecular markers.
Evaluation of the collections
In collaboration with other groups, the
durum and common wheat core collections have been evaluated for:
- Quality-related gluten proteins
- Architecture of the root system
- Disease resistence
These evaluations have shown that
traditional Spanish varieties have a great variability for important characters for pre-breeding,
highlighting some varieties for their good values.
We have also found that
some traditional wheat varieties display adaptive traits useful for conservation tillage.
The vetch core collection has been evaluated for parameters associated with
It is a spike collection of 3,500 traditional varieties, mostly wheat, started in 1953. This collection is a valuable reference material for the identification of varieties. A part of the collection has been digitised for online access (Espigario).