G2P-SOL Training School
Learning where to find and how to use the diversity of the world’s potato, tomato, pepper and eggplant germplasm to breed improved vegetable varieties
Breeding better crops requires access to diverse material for breeding. Genebanks worldwide conserve landraces and wild relatives of agricultural crops, but access to these collections is limited by lack of information on the available genotypes and the properties of these materials.
The EU Horizon 2020-funded project G2P-SOL aims to improve access to genebank materials for breeding. It focuses on the four most important Solanaceae crops: potato, tomato, pepper, and eggplant. The project has established a catalog of the germplasm available for these crops, assembles germplasm sets of the four crops that represent the diversity in genebank collections, and identifies breeder-desired traits available in these sets. This information is shared with users through databases and dissemination events.
As part of its outreach activities, the G2P-SOL project held a training school organized by the World Vegetable Center in Hyderabad, India from 22-25 January 2018 for 29 junior breeders from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan. Genebank specialists, breeders, and a biostatistician informed the participants about the project and trained them in the use of genetic diversity in breeding. The lectures focused on germplasm conservation, access to genebank materials, and breeding technologies, including biostatistics and molecular breeding. Visits to the WorldVeg tomato and pepper fields and hands-on exercises in seed treatment added a practical dimension to the lessons learned in the classroom sessions.
Participants particularly appreciated the information on germplasm use, disease resistance breeding, and marker-assisted selection. For future training events, they suggested including more practical exercises and focusing on a specific crop species, instead of the more general overview provided by the training school. Participants also enjoyed interacting with their peers from other companies and institutions and having the opportunity to build and strengthen their professional networks.
Story and photos: Roland Schafleitner and Mandy Lin