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Genetically diverse populations of self-pollinating cereals for organic farming: agronomic performance, effect of environment, and improvement techniques

National project
Latvian Council of Science, Fundamental and practical research project
Priekuli Research Centre and Stende Research Centre

Project leader 
Dr.agr. Linda Legzdiņa

Research aim:
to investigate agronomic performance, efficient improvement techniques and changes due to environmental effects in genetically diverse populations, which are a potentially significant alternative to traditional varieties for self-pollinating cereals in environmentally friendly agriculture.

 Agronomic traits important for organic farming as yield and its stability, competitive ability against weeds, nutrient use efficiency, disease resistance/tolerance and grain quality will be assessed for barley and wheat composite cross populations (CCPs) in field trials under organic and conventional crop management systems. The effect of repeated multiplication and cultivation in different environments on CCP agronomic and morphological traits and genetic diversity using molecular tools will be evaluated. Development and improvement of breeding techniques will include elaboration of molecular marker, application of negative mass selection for disease resistance/tolerance enhancement, line selection from CCPs for building mixtures, and crossing of CCP to perspective/local genotypes. The material of spring barley CCPs created in Latvia, barley and wheat CCPs from abroad and newly created CCPs will be studied. Testing in larger scale on-farm trials will be done. Results will ensure new knowledge in agriculture and biology as well as information for state authorities in order to facilitate registration and marketing system establishment for genetically diverse populations.