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Andalusia leads the GEN4OLIVE project to accelerate the use of olive genetic resources

The European GEN4OLIVE project has officially started after the launch meeting that has been held remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions. GEN4OLIVE is coordinated by the University of Córdoba and is an Innovation Action funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme.

The universities of Jaén and Granada, Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA) and the companies Galpagro, Cámbrico Biotech and Santa Cruz Ingeniería, together with the University of Córdoba, are the Andalusian entities that participate in this project, which aims to leverage olive Genetic Resources (GenRes) by bringing them closer to breeders and farmers.

The olive industry is one of the most important in the Mediterranean Basin and European agriculture, with great social and economic impacts. Emerging diseases, such as Xylella, and climate change problems are threatening the industry, while the genetic resources that may have the key to solve them remain largely unexploited. Currently there are more than 1,200 worldwide olive varieties, but just 5% of them represent near all the harvested area.

Olive genetic resources are preserved in Germplasm Banks, but a shared effort is needed to clearly characterize all aspects of this genetic material and integrate the information to be ready for its use.

GEN4OLIVE project encompasses a wide, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary consortium of 16 partners from 7 different countries, including the International Germplasm Banks of the top five olive growing countries, which will provide the genetic material to be explored and exploited. Additionally, the GEN4OLIVE project is directly supported by the International Olive Council (IOC) as part of the Advisory Board.

Overall goals of GEN4OLIVE project

The overall goal of GEN4OLIVE is to accelerate the mobilization of olive GenRes and to foster pre-breeding activities by:

1. Developing collective pre-breeding activities aiming to in-depth characterize more than 500 worldwide olive varieties and 1000 wild and ancient genotypes around 4 main topics:

  • Climate change resilience.
  • Pests and diseases resilience varieties.
  • High production and high-quality varieties.
  • Adaptation to modern planting systems.

2. Developing a smart and user-friendly interface to make genetic resources much more accessible to the end user.

3. Building two mobile Apps using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to easily detect olive diseases and identify olive varieties

4. Enhancing breeders and growers’ participation through the implementation of two open calls for supporting SMEs’ pre-breeding activities and breeding plans.

 

Structure of the consortium

P. N Participant organisation name Acronym Country
1 University of Cordoba (Coordinator) UCO SP
2 Hellenic Agricultural Organisation “DIMITRA”. Institute of Olive Tree and Subtropical Plants DEMETER GR
3 Olive Research Institute. Ministry of Agriculture

and Forestry, Izmir, Turkey

ORI TR
4 SANTA CRUZ INGENIERIA SL SCI SP
5 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique –

Centre Regional de Marrakech

INRA MA
6 Technological      Corporation      of      Andalusia CTA SP
7 Gálvez Productos Agroquímicos, S.L.U. GALPAGRO SP
8 Cámbrico Biotech, S.L. CAMBRICO SP
9 Hellenic Union of Nurseries EFE GR
10 Council for Agricultural Research CREA IT
11 FOCOS GbR FOCOS DE
12 ANKARA UNIVERSITESI ANKU TR
13 University of Granada UGR SP
14 University of Jaen UJA SP
15 Sapienza University of Rome SAPIENZA IT
16 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS FR

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