Booster aims to implement two synergistic strategies to improve drought tolerance in both maize and teff, while simultaneously exploring the potential for transferring species-specific drought responsive features.
- Firstly, a new approach will identify genomic variants in regulatory regions functionally associated with drought tolerance. Novel regulatory elements underlying resilience will inform efficient breeding efforts to create new drought-tolerant cereal varieties.
- Secondly, novel molecular priming technologies from seaweed and microbial-based biostimulants will be developed as an eco-friendly approach for improving drought resilience.
The two strategies will be tested in two cereals with different degrees of responsiveness to drought: European maize and Ethiopian teff – a cereal with a high genetic similarity to the desiccation tolerant sister species Eragrostis nindensis.
The BOOSTER consortium comprises a highly qualified team represented by European and international (USA, South Africa, Ethiopia) academics and industry to collectively ensure that the expected impacts are achieved in the near future.