ReTraQue – Securing High Yield and Sustainability in Future Crops
Resistance-Traits-Quality (ReTraQue) is the name of a 5-year breeding project, which relies on new plant breeding techonologies (NBT) using CRISPR/Cas technology.
The technology allow scientists and plant breeders to improve the genetics of crops more precisely than classical mutagenesis techniques. Hence, the project’s goal is to develop sustainable crops and tools for breeding that are healthier and more resistant to diseases, which will lead to better quality in crops and higher yield.
The results will benefit not only the farming industry and the food industry, but also consumers and the environment. Food shortages caused by climate changes can be rectified due to increased yield, and the need for pesticides for some types of crops can be reduced.
The research project is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between the breeding industry represented by Danespo, DLF, Nordic Seed and Sejet Plant Breeding and Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen. The project will focus mainly on grass, alfalfa, potatoes, barley and wheat, and the project will presumably increase the global seed market shares by 5-10 % for the involving companies.
The total budget is DKK 41.8 million whereof DKK 29.8 million is a grant from Innovation Fund Denmark.
ReTraQue Has Two Equally Important Outputs:
- Imperative for the future competitive advantage of the industrial partners, new Plant Breeding Technologies are established for all selected crops. This output will have immediate effect on the companies breeding efforts within the project and in decades ahead.
- Improved breeding lines with higher yield and quality
- Higher yield by improved photosynthesis efficiency.
- This ambitious long term goal has the highest potential to improve yield for all crops. It will take 8-10 years before entering the market.
- Resistance to Fusarium
- This resistance is of high value for cereals, and is a short term goal entering registration within 4-6 years where after it is send on the market.
- Improved feed quality in all cereals, forage grasses and alfalfa
- Improved digestibility has high potential in feed. A medium term goal to enter the market in 6-8 years.
ReTraQue innovates plant breeding as the first step in the food and feed value chain and will generate value not only for the breeding companies but also for the wholesale companies and the farmers. The breeding lines will be matured into new commercial varieties through established breeding programs where they will be subject to market level tests for improved performance and traits. The estimated 5 % - 10 % increase in yield of barley and wheat will give the breeding companies an extra income of 20-30 mill. DKK a year for wheat alone.