Horizon 2020 project EUCLEG
Breeding forage and grain legumes to increase EU’s and China’s protein self-sufficiency
Project duration: 2017 – 2021
Financed by: European Commission
Project coordinator: Dr Bernadette Julier, INRAE, France
Participants: 38 partner institutions from 14 European countries and China
Project coordinator in Institute for forage crops: Dr Dejan Sokolović, Principal Research Fellow
EUCLEG aims to reduce Europe and China’s dependency on protein imports by developing efficient breeding strategies for the legume crops of major economic importance in human food and animal feed. The objective is to improve diversification, crop productivity, yield stability and protein quality of both forage (alfalfa and red clover) and grain (pea, faba bean and soybean) legumes. Using diverse and extensive genetic resources and taking advantage of advanced molecular tools, EUCLEG aims to identify and develop the best genetic resources, phenotyping methods and molecular tools to breed legume varieties with improved performance under biotic and abiotic stresses in the representative European and Chinese agro-ecological areas. The potential for new uses of forage species for human nutrition will be explored. Searchable databases will be developed or built to host passport, agronomic and genetic data facilitating exchanges and use of genetic resources. The evaluation of genetic resources in multi-site trials will allow broadening the breeding material and agro-ecological adaptation. The genetic architecture of key breeding traits will be analysed using association studies in order to identify molecular markers related to phenotypic traits. Finally, genomic selection strategies will be assessed for their potential to improve genetic progress. Practical tools for genotyping, data management and calculation will be provided to breeders to implement marker-assisted selection and genomic selection leading to the creation of new varieties in the long-term. The partnership gathered in EUCLEG, combining public institutes and private companies of Europe and China, guaranties the transfer of knowledge from research to seed industry.