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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 21 | 7. Juni 2010
DFG Priority Programme “Flowering Time Control: From Natural Variation to Crop Improvement”

Call for Proposals

A new DFG Priority Programme has been established which aims to develop a functional cross-species network scheme of flowering time (FTi) regulators for modelling developmental and associated characters in relation to environmental cues. The project proposals shall combine novel genome based techniques (‘omics’) with molecular, metabolic and genetic methodology. They shall be related to the five work packages: (1) gene expression networks and signalling pathways, (2) control of flowering time in perennials, (3) integration of endogenous and environmental factors, (4) pleiotropic effects of FTi genes and impact on adaptation and speciation, and (5) genetic variation of FTi genes and their application in crop improvement. 

Model and crop species with different phenological development will be investigated. Phylogenetic relationships can be used to infer similar functional interactions between FTi regulators in related crop species. Thus, joint experiments across species borders are strongly encouraged. Potential applicants shall be guided by at least one of the following goals: 

  • A complete understanding of the genetic and epigenetic regulation of FTi genes and the interaction between different FTi pathways.
  • The identification of both common and distinct evolutionary paths and the branching points where these paths have diverged.
  • Understanding FTi regulation in perennials.
    Understanding environmental and internal stimuli regulating FTi such as hormonal constitution and nutrient supply.
  • Understanding the pleiotropic effects of FTi regulators, and how they account for yield components and stress tolerance.
  • Exploitation of knowledge of FTi regulation for improving the genetic architecture of crop plants via knowledge based breeding.
  • Modification of FTi towards crop improvement by altering the expression or function of individual genes either by genetic modification or by mutation.
  • Development of algorithms and databases for integrated analysis of sequence, expression, phenotypic and image data with the goal of deciphering regulatory FTi networks and their evolution.

Whole genome approaches shall be pursued to identify genes and proteins using next generation sequencing techniques to sequence genomes, transcriptomes and non-coding RNAs. The identification of yet unknown genes shall largely rely on deep sequencing of mutagenised populations and transcript populations. Novel approaches for increasing and exploiting genetic variation of FTi regulators also are strongly encouraged. Plant resources will have high relevance. Immortal mapping populations will be used as doubled haploids, recombinant inbred lines, nested association mapping (NAM) lines, high resolution lines, and nearly isogenic lines. The Priority Programme will not include studies exclusively focussing on floral organ development and/or senescence without relation to FTi. Basic studies on FTi regulation in models not related to application in cultivated plant species will also not be considered. Furthermore, projects purely relying on traditional (phenotypic) selection and breeding approaches will not be ranked with priority as well as field or purely agronomic studies without any genetic or ‘omics’-based approaches.

Proposals must be submitted to the DFG (in English) by Friday 15 October 2010 with the keyword “SPP 1530/1” on paper (3 copies) and on CD-Rom. Funding proposals can be made for a three-year period.

Further information

Questions concerning research proposals can be addressed to Prof. Dr. Christian Jung, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, c.jung@plantbreeding.uni-kiel.de. 

A more detailed description of the strategic aims and the proposed working programme of the Priority Programme can be downloaded under www.plantbreeding.uni-kiel.de/ppfti.shtml or www.flowercrop.uni-kiel.de. 

For information on submitting proposals, please contact Dr. Patricia Schmitz-Möller, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 53170 Bonn, Tel. +49 228 885-2797, patricia.schmitz-moeller@dfg.de.