for the conservation and valorization
of European rice germplasm









General Objective of the Project:
Characterisation and exploitation of European and international rice genetic resources of
the temperate rice area for an enhanced competitiveness in rice production, in terms of
conservation of germoplasm biodiversity, gene bank repository for élite alleles, and
identification of genetic resources targeted at sustainable agricultural systems




Rice Genomics Group
Parco Tecnologico Padano
Via Einstein - 26900 Lodi (Italy)
Unità di Ricerca per la Risicoltura
Vercelli - Italy
UR Création variétale et gestion
de peuplements de riz
Montpellier - France
Dep. Biologia Vegetal,
Facultade de Ciencias,
Universidad Lisboa
Lisboa - Portugal
NAGREF - Cereal Institute
Thermi - Thessaloniki
National Institute
for Agricultural Biology
Cambridge - UK
A project co-funded by the
Commission of the European Communities
for the period 01.03.2007 TO 28.02.2010 in the framework
AGRI GEN RES 870/2004

EURIGEN “Genotyping for the conservation and valorization of European rice germplasm”

 EEC co-funded   049-AGRI GEN RES  EC 870/2004

 Coordinator: Rice Genomics Group - Parco Tecnologico Padano, Via Einstein - 26900 Lodi (Italy)

Partecipants: CRA - Unità di Ricerca per la Risicoltura, s.s.11 per Torino, 13100 Vercelli (Italy);

CIRAD – CA, UR Création variétale et gestion de peuplements de riz, Montpellier (France); NAGREF – Cereal Institute, Thermi-Thessaloniki (Greece); Dep. Biologia Vegetal, Facultade de Ciências, Universidad Lisboa, Lisboa (Portugal); NIAB - National Institute for Agricultural Biology, Cambridge (UK).

 WEB site:

Cereals are by far the World's most important source of food, both for direct human consumption and indirectly, as inputs to livestock production: genetic resouces in the cereal sector are therefore crucial to world food supplies. Since the mid-1960s the world has managed to raise cereal production by almost a billion tonnes. Over the next 30 years, another billion tonnes of cereal production is needed to feed the increased world population. Among the long list of cereal crops, wheat and rice are the most important ones.
Rice stems as major staple food for almost one third of the world population and this is due to the extreme adaptability of this species to various environments. Europe cultivates rice mostly in the area of the Mediterranean basin, using varieties derived from the breeding programmes employing germplasm of the temperate regions of the world. In the last half century, Europe has enhanced its production in terms of yield and quality of the product with increasingly high inputs agricultural practices. This has elevated the European rice production mostly in terms of quality and safety of the product, making this highly appreciated in the international market. However, the competitiveness of the European production does not only rely on the above reasons. There is an increasing concern about the adoption of more sustainable agricultural systems, aiming at the valorization of the national products together with the adoption of practices more respective of the environments and the natural habitats. This aspects are today considered a driving force for the European agriculture. The adoption of the Community agro-environmental measures according to the current and future CAP policies specifically address to the exploitation of genetic resources in terms of the identification of varieties better suited for cultivation in accordance to the above mentioned priorities

 Summary of the project
The project EURIGEN “Genotyping for the conservation and valorization of European rice germplasm” is co-funded by the Commission of the European Communities with contract 049-AGRI GEN RES, for the period 01.03.2007 to 28.02.2010, within the assessments of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and of the the Council Regulation (EC) N° 870/2004 establishing a Community Programme on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of genetic resources in agriculture.

 Detailed specific objectives of each area of research included into the project are:

 Objective 1: Survey, characterization, conservation and cataloguing of the European rice germplasm for its biodiversity conservation, implementing the pre-existing data and the databank obtained in the previous Eu project RICE GENETIC RESOURCES FOR EUROPE (RESGEN-CT95-37) coordinated by CIRAD in Montpellier (France). In the framework of the “Global Crop Diversity Trust” an advisory group for the development of the Global Strategy for the Conservation of Rice Genetic Resources has been established by the International Rice Reseach Institute. Partner 2 in EURIGEN is a member of this advisory group and has been asked to ensure Regional coordination for Europe. The first European Rice Germplasm Collection (ERGC) was established during the RESGEN project. In order to ensure the recognition of this collection by the international rice community, standard germplasm and information management system has to be developed. This standardisation will also help the establishment of a European Rice germplasm Bank and a European Rice Germplasm management network facilitating germplasm exchanges. This objective aims at implementing the dynamic network for germplasm exchange among European entities involved in the rice breeding area, and each national seed bank with foreign germplasm.

 Objective 2: Agro-, Morpho-physiological and quality characterization of the European and international germplasm considered in the project in the various areas of cultivation. This objective aims at filing a data bank for the main agronomical and qualitative characters available for the European rice breeding community, and its characterization under the different agroclimatic and pedologic conditions, also in terms of the identification and support of diverse farming systems. This action will provide an evaluation of the main characteristics of the entries in the local agro-environmental situations, chosen to be representative of the European rice area: North-West of the Po valley (Italy), Makedonia (Greece), Portugal (Tejo river and Mondego river sites) and south France (Camargue). In particular, specific target in this objective will be the identification of genotypes characterized in being particularly competitive in more sustainable agrosystems (turnated irrigation ), or particular local constraints (saline soils). Survey for resistance/sensitivity to the main pests and pathogens will allow to identify new sources of resistance in the germplasm pool.

 Objective 3: Application of the most updated bio-molecular tools for genomic studies in view of molecular characterisation (SNP analysis) of the EU core collection of candidate genes. This will will be focused on three selected traits of agronomic interest: salinity tolerance, resistance to blast, adaptation to water-limited conditions. This objective will be pursued with the following actions: i) constitution of a DNA repository bank; ii) identification and availability of molecular markers for identification of elite genes and exploitation in MAS programmes for the realization of more competitive and adapted varieties; iii) identification of variant alleles (allele mining) and nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) for gene mappping and discovery or by association or linkage disequilibrium analysis. In particular, the use of SSRs markers will be targeted to the identification of genotypes useful to cope with particular constraints. Using genotypic diversity data and phenotyping data produced from the sub-sample of ERGC, association mapping will be run for the target areas. For each target trait, a set of best performing genes and alleles as well as associated donors and molecular makers will be identified for breeding program use

 Attached: pdf EURIGEN divulgative leaflet and poster