Climate change is the biggest challenge that we are facing for food production. Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in temperature and in variability of precipitation, directly affect the abiotic environment of crops, their geographical distribution and their biotic interactions, leading to increased crop vulnerability. Rethinking new strategies that will mitigate these impacts is a priority for agriculture. Compared with domesticated forms monitored by humans, crop wild relatives are facing continuous challenges in their natural environments and encompass more genetic diversity. Therefore, they constitute an untapped reservoir of alleles, which could be used to increase adaptive capacity of cultivated species in the face of global changes. Genetic exploitation of wild relatives in crop improvement is a key alternative strategy to the massive use of inputs, and promotes the sustainability of agroecosystems. It is however conditioned by cross compatibilities between wild and domesticated forms, and fertility of the resulting progenies.
The DOMISOL project aims at characterizing the extent and molecular nature of reproductive barriers between wild and domesticated forms, and at investigating the underlying evolutionary processes. Owing to their recent divergence, barriers between wild and domesticates are incomplete and can therefore be ‘caught in the act’ in their set-up. We propose here to focus on 14 wild/domesticates systems representing a low to high continuum of divergence, in order to undertake a comparative approach. We are pursuing two major objectives. The first one is to take advantage of this broad diversity of systems to perform a quantitative assessment of reproductive barriers in F1 hybrids obtained from wild x domesticates crosses; and to investigate the links between these barriers, the evolutionary history these forms, their phenotypic and genomic divergence, in order to infer the evolutionary parameters that determine the strength of reproductive isolation. The second one is to focus on three of the 14 systems to refine our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying reproductive isolation. This includes the description of transcriptional changes in healthy versus unhealthy F1 hybrids, as well as the detection of segregation distortions in F1 and F2 progenies that will be used subsequently for mapping loci involved in hybrid fitness defects.
DOMISOL brings together complementary expertise of four partners in the production and valorization of genetic resources, agronomy, evolutionary genomics, plant genetics and modeling. This ambitious project is an exceptional opportunity to produce unique genetic material on several systems and datasets that will serve as bases for collaborations among actors of the plant genetics and genomics community in France. The outcomes will provide a better understanding of the processes at work in the early stages of reproductive isolation, and their consequences on fitness-related traits; but will also help to characterize the extent and genetic nature of barriers to reproduction between wild and cultivated forms. This is an essential step to overcome them and exploit the full reservoir of adaptive alleles to improve crop sustainability in agro-ecosystems. We will take advantage of the data produced for teaching activities to illustrate the application of high-throughput sequencing in plant breeding, and to raise general public awareness of the importance of preserving wild populations.
Madame Maud Tenaillon (Génétique quantitative et Evolution - Le Moulon)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
GQE-Le Moulon Génétique quantitative et Evolution - Le Moulon
GAFL Génétique et Amélioration des Fruits et Légumes
ECOBIO ECOSYSTEMES, BIODIVERSITE, EVOLUTION
DIADE Diversité, adaptation et développement des plantes
Help of the ANR 602,147 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2020 - 48 Months