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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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National Institute for Agricultural Research

The National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) is a public research institution under the joint authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forests. The research conducted at INRA concerns agriculture, food, nutrition and food safety, environment and land management, with particular emphasis on sustainable development.

The project will more particularly involve a research unit of the Poitou-Charentes Centre of INRA. This research unit, UR P3F (Unité de Recherches Pluri-disciplinaire Prairies et Plantes Fourragères) is committed in research about genetics, breeding and eco-physiology of grassland species. It gathers scientists from the Plant Science department of INRA (BAP), which includes plant genetics and breeding, and from the Environment and Agronomy department (EA). The main focus of this unit is the improvement of services provided by pluri-specific grasslands in the context of an agro-ecological agriculture. Within this frame, UR P3F develops investigations combining skills in quantitative and population genetics, in plant breeding and genetic resource conservation and in plant eco-physiology and agronomy. The project will involve UR P3F scientists from the BAP department (Jean-Paul Sampoux, Isabelle Litrico and Philippe Barre) and a scientist from the EA department (Didier Combes).

This FACCE-JPI project will contribute to an INRA collaborative initiative approved by the INRA meta-programme AAFCC (Adapting Agriculture and Forestry to Climate Change). This collaborative initiative, named CLIMAGIE, is led by Jean-Louis Durand, head of UR P3F. It gathers several INRA units to join their efforts in contributing to improve adaptation and resilience of grasslands in the face of climate change.

INRA UR P3F hosts a genebank for grasslands species which maintains the national collections for these species in collaboration with French plant breeding companies. This genebank has received seal of approval and grant for entering the French network of Biological Resource Centres managed the IBISA GIS. It will provide part of the accessions required for the genebank set. Staff from the genebank will also contribute their experience to collect new genetic material for the in situ set. UR P3F benefits of large acreages of experiment fields and has high skill staff for carrying out fine in-field phenotypic records, including eco-physiological measurements such as canopy temperature. UR P3F has facilities to perform NIRS (Near Infra-Red Spectrometry) measurements of nitrogen content and quality components of grass forage such as water soluble carbohydrates. UR P3F holds a laboratory able to carry out various genotyping methods that will carry out the DNA extractions and check of DNA quality planned for INRA in the project.

INRA UR P3F will use an INRA platform at UMR Ecology and Ecophysiology of Forests (UMR 1137, Nancy) for nitrogen content and 13C discrimination assessments. INRA sequencing platforms of Evry (LPGV) and Clermond-Ferrand (GENTYANE) will be used for the sequencing tasks assigned to INRA in the project. The INRA bioinformatics platform of URGI (Evry), maintaining a multispecies centralized information system, will be used for repository and share of data of the project. The UMR Ecology and Ecophysiology of Forests (Nancy) holds an extended database system for environmental (and notably climatic) data storage managed by Vincent Badeau who will be the leader of two tasks in the project. This facility will be used to provide environmental data for the project.

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Aberystwyth University - Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences

Aberystwyth University - Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has a strong commitment to underpin strategic research for breeding programmes in perennial ryegrass and other crops. It is the only university department in the UK with active plant breeding programmes and the infrastructure necessary for such activity. This includes an extensive germplasm collection, greenhouse facilities, pollen-proof isolation glasshouses, seed multiplication, field laboratories and the IBERS farm for field-based phenotyping. This is complemented by the creation of a National Plant Phenomics Centre ( for high-throughput phenotyping, which complements existing field and lab-based analytical chemistry (NIRS, GC-MS, etc). The impact of IBERS research on the development of improved forage and turfgrasses, as well as clovers, oats and pearl millet, was recently acknowledged by the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. IBERS was also recently awarded the Excellence with Impact award from BBSRC for the University department that has made the greatest progress in embedding a culture of excellence alongside impact. It has also invested in infrastructure for next generation sequencing for genomics-based breeding, with the purchase of Roche 454, Illumina HiSeq2500/HiScanSQ/MiSeq and Ion Torrent PGM/Proton platforms. Finally, recent investment has led to the formation of a new High-Performance Computing cluster as part of new facilities across both campuses, with purchase of two large server clusters (one high processing capability, one high-memory) for analysis of large datasets for both the NGS and Phenomics facilities.

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IPK Genebank - Satellite Collections North research group

The Satellite Collections North research group of the IPK Genebank at Malchow/Poel maintains the most comprehensive genebank collection of perennial ryegrass in Europe, consisting of more than 3000 accessions. This group has a long and comprehensive expertise in the collection, maintenance, phenotyping/characterization and evaluation of genetic resources of cultivated plants and their relatives (Nehrlich et al., 2013). Besides the classical genebank tasks, IPK is involved in ecogeographic studies in Lolium (Beierkuhnlein et al., 2011, Kreyling et al., 2012) and conducts molecular research on the taxonomy and genetic diversity of plant species (Seibt et al., 2012), among them Lolium (Nestmann et al., 2011).

IPK scientists will contribute high skills in plant genetic resource management and in grass phenotyping and will lead WP1. IPK will provide genebank facilities like greenhouses and trial fields for plant phenotyping on the individual plant or micro sward level. In addition, Lolium perenne populations of the in situ set will be cultivated and seeds harvested from them. The seeds of these 50 populations will be subjected to long term storage at -20°C at Malchow/Poel, as well as safety duplicated at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV).

Besides plant genetic resource management, IPK has a long lasting expertise in generating and evaluating molecular data in grass genera like Poa and Lolium. Especially at its Gatersleben site, but also at the Gross Luesewitz site of the Satellite Collections North, a state-of-the-art equipment regarding molecular research is available, supplemented by a strong bioinformatics background. This infrastructure has successfully been utilised in a large number of research projects, the linking of molecular to phenotypic data being one of the topics focused upon.

IPK is a member both of the German (DPPN, and European Plant Phenotyping Network (EPPN, Thus at its Gatersleben site, a LemnaTec platform is available, on which several plant species have already been phenotyped (e.g. barley and maize of the Poaceae grass family). Here, the thorough phenotyping of perennial ryegrass individuals will be performed under controlled conditions.

Website :