Aim of the project is to utilize transcriptomics and functional genomics to increase sustainability in agriculture through improvement of perennial ryegrass with better adaptation to frost and drought for current and future climates. 

The implementation of the project started on 1 May 2021, furthermore until 2024 and available funding is EUR 1 000 000.

Main objectives:

  • Establish a diverse perennial ryegrass core association panel by utilization of data from ongoing projects (WP1).
     
  • Screen the association panel in order to detect haplotype-resolved single-nucleotide variants and structural variation in the targeted genes/alleles for freezing and drought genes (WP1).
     
  • Identify novel genes and characterize drought and freezing tolerance genes by comparing their expression for pathway related genes in non-edited and mutant plants (WP2).
     
  • Develop CRISPR-Cas9 constructs and generate CRISPR-edited perennial ryegrass mutants for freezing and mild drought tolerance (WP3).
     
  • Validate and characterize the role of the genes and their sequence variations in the freezing and drought mechanisms (WP4).
     
  • Management and coordination of research activities and dissemination of results (WP5).

The project is implemented by the University of Latvia (Coordinator) in cooperation with the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Tallinn University of Technology from 1 May 2021 until 30 April 2024.

Project Contract No.: EEZ/BPP/VIAA/2021/4, Project ID No.: EEA-RESEARCH-64.

Total grant is EUR 1 000 000, which consists of EEA grants co-financing – EUR 850 000 (85%), and Latvian State budget financing – EUR 15 000 (15%).

Projects principal investigator is Nils Rostoks, Senior Researcher and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia.