Tratado Internacional sobre los Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Evaluation of Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) genetic resources under different ecosystems using traditional and genomic approaches
Where will we work?
The main goal of this work is to focus on sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity to improve the livelihood of the resource poor farmers in Egypt. This can be achieved by developing sustainable new forage technologies to increase forage production per unit area, which in turn will increase livestock production, conserving soil and enhancing nutrient management and improving soil fertility in traditional and new reclaimed lands. Also livestock are an important component of smallholder farmers in Egypt. The direct benefits include increased income from production of offspring, meat, milk or eggs; transport and sources of dietary protein for the family.

What will we do?
This project will address about 50 different genotypes (45 genotypes previously collected by the NGB from different areas in Egypt in addition to 5 commercial cultivars to be used as control). During field days gene bank staff will give short lectures about the important role of plant genetic resources. The genotypes will be planted in three locations in two seasons, we will examine chromosome morphology and structure and provide fine karyotypic details by using differential staining techniques (NOR- and C- banding markers) to characterize some berseem genotypes. Extracting DNA from the 50 samples, selecting 30 different SSR markers already identified and available at the NCBI website and design primers for them then testing them on our samples. Also 30 ISSR primers will be tested for their ability to amplify genomic DNA in our 50 samples.
Data generated from these two marker systems will be used to detect genetic polymorphism. A cluster analysis dendrogram for our germplasm will be drawn to determine the genetic diversity of this species.

What is expected to be achieved?
The main objective of the project is to identify berseem clover genotypes adapted to harsh environment using the latest technologies by;
  • Identifying berseem genotypes adapted to abiotic stress environments for development of new high yielding plants.
  • Investigation of genome structure of berseem by cytological (karyotyping & FISH technique), genetic (molecular markers (SSR)) and genomic approaches (next generation sequencing technology).
  • Upon completion of the project all genetic and genomic data will be publically available through the NCBI website. Also all data collected and documentation will be available through the NGB database system and on NGB web site for breeders worldwide. This work will be the first time that the genome of Trifolium alexandrinum is ever sequenced. Genome sequencing is essential to accelerate breeding and rapid identification of genes underlying different agronomic traits such as yield, disease resistance, quality, protein content etc., and the release of new plant varieties. Such work represents a holistic approach in the study of berseem, and would be the first report of its kind regarding Trifolium alexandrinum, which will result in reducing the acreage of alfalfa in the agricultural cycle by increasing yield per unit area, and tailoring of new varieties according to need.

Who will benefit?
The project focus on positive efforts to increase berseem productivity by: Evaluation, Enhancing of berseem genotypes for adaptation to abiotic stress and high productivity for the benefit of at least 20,000 farmers. Transferring and supporting the National Berseem Research Program and berseem breeders to improve berseem varieties to support breeding of a larger number of livestock. Capacity building for at least 50 people to increase scientific as well as technical knowledge of young scientists in the fields of cytology, molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. Using and enhancing the indirect value of agriculture crops to increase the Profitability Index (economic return) from GR.
Trifolium alexandrinum L.
Region: Africa
Target Countries: Egypt
Implementing institution: Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI), ARC,

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