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NSFC team project: applied plant nutriomics and the development of nutrient efficient wheat varieties through molecular design

This project aims to conduct systematic functional analysis of the genes that play important roles in the uptake and utilization of key mineral nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) in model and crop plants using functional genomics approaches. This will lead to original and novel insights into the molecular mechanisms controlling nutrient uptake and utilization in higher plants. Based on the functional insights, appropriate genetic targets will be identified for increasing the nutrient efficiencies of crop plants. Through the use of marker assisted selection and transgenic technologies, wheat germplasms and varieties with significantly improved nutrient efficiency will be developed. To achieve the project goals described above, the following five areas of research will be carried out. 1) Identification and functional study of the key genes that regulate the uptake, metabolism and utilization of nitrogen or phosphorus in model plant species (Arabidopsis, rice, Brachypodium) through forward genetics approach. 2) Isolation and functional study of wheat genes controlling important aspects of nutrient efficiency based on model species studies and using reverse genetics approach. 3) Developing elite germplasm lines with improved nutrient efficiencies and/or other agronomic traits. 4) Developing novel prebreeding populations for molecular design of crop traits. 5) Breeding wheat germplasms and varieties with significantly improved nutrient efficiencies and other superior agronomic traits through molecular design. This project is running for six years (from January 2006 to December, 2012).