Dundee, United Kingdom

Scottish Crop Research Institute

Dundee, United Kingdom

The Scottish Crop Research Institute more commonly known as the SCRI was a scientific institute located in Invergowrie near Dundee, Scotland. As of April 2011, when SCRI merged with the Macaulay Land Use Institute it is now part of The James Hutton Institute. Wikipedia.

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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-1-01 | Award Amount: 7.65M | Year: 2010

Optimal plant growth requires the orchestration of carbon metabolism over the day-night cycle, to avoid periods of starvation at night. Metabolism and growth at night are fueled by carbohydrates released by degradation of starch, synthesised from photosynthesis in the preceding day. Starch synthesis and degradation are regulated such that starch reserves are almost but not quite exhausted at the end of the night, in both long and short nights. We have recently found that this robust regulation is a function of the circadian clock, an endogenous timer that allows plants to anticipate and prepare for daily changes in their environment, and a paradigm for Systems Biology. The clock controls the rate of starch degradation at night, so that reserves last until the anticipated dawn. Starvation and growth arrest are avoided. This important discovery opens the way to new levels of understanding of the control of plant growth and productivity. TiMet assembles world leaders in experimental and theoretical plant Systems Biology to understand the regulatory interactions between the clock gene circuit and metabolism, and their emergent effects on growth and productivity. In addition to starch metabolism, we will study isoprenoid synthesis, an essential metabolic process linking starch metabolism to growth and development. Jointly-conducted experiments will use responses to day-length and light-quality regimes that perturb clock function, and a large set of mutants deficient in clock or central metabolic functions. High throughput technologies will enable study of transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational events, providing a depth of analysis hitherto unattained for either the clock or metabolism in plants. Innovative data mining and modelling platforms will underpin new, mechanistic models of each subsystem, will integrate them for the first time, and test the emergent effects of this dynamic system on plant growth rate and productivity.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-1-03 | Award Amount: 6.22M | Year: 2009

Meiotic recombination has underpinned plant breeding for the generation of new traits of agronomic, environmental and economic importance, although we still have little understanding of the controlling mechanisms involved in this process. We will combine approaches in genomics and systems biology to obtain a detailed understanding of the factors that control recombination and will provide a basis for the development of strategies to modify recombination in a variety of crop species.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE.2010.1.2-05 | Award Amount: 12.35M | Year: 2011

To meet both the worldwide demand for food security and new environmental needs, agriculture must increase food production and quality while decreasing its ecological footprint. Ensuring sustainability and competitiveness with reduced pesticide inputs is a major challenge. PURE will provide integrated pest management (IPM) solutions and a practical toolbox for their implementation in key European farming systems (annual arable and vegetable, perennial, and protected crops) in which reduction of pesticide use and better control of pests will have major effects. PURE will exploit recent advances in emerging technologies, plant-pest-enemies interactions, soil and landscape ecology and pest evolution to feed IPM solutions with innovative diagnostic and decision support systems, physical devices and bio-products, strategies for ecological pest regulation and improved durability of control methods. For each selected farming system, PURE will combine existing methods with new tools and technologies into novel IPM solutions addressing the biological, agronomical and economical diversity in Europe. IPM solutions will range from easy to adopt combinations of tactical control methods to more ambitious solutions involving strategic changes at farm level. PURE will test the efficacy, practicability and relevance of IPM solutions under the agro-ecosystems and farming conditions of the main broad European regions by on-station and on-farm experiments and will perform a comparative assessment of their environmental, economic and social sustainability. By jointly involving researchers and the key actors of pest management (farmers, advisors, policy makers and actors of the food supply chain) in design and assessment, PURE will facilitate the adoption of these innovative IPM solutions. PURE will thereby contribute to reduce the risks to human health and the environment and the dependence on pesticides and will facilitate the implementation of the pesticides package legislation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-01 | Award Amount: 4.10M | Year: 2010

This research will deliver knowledge and technology for the optimisation of the use of legumes in European agricultural systems and promote the partnerships needed to support the public policy outcomes sought. By integrating the Consortiums extensive set of existing field case studies, modelling and knowledge base, the project will test, validate and deliver novel cropping systems. This network of 18 case studies, in 12 countries, will be the focus of interaction with farmers, SMEs, other businesses, and policy makers. Outputs will include system-optimised cropping plans for each pedo-climatic region, input into existing farm-planning tools, local on-farm demonstrations, a socio-economic analysis that will enable local economic assessment of cropping systems, and an ecological assessment of the effects of relevant farming system changes on greenhouse gas and nitrogen budgets, biodiversity and soil health from the farm to the continental scale. A book on legume-supported eco-efficient farming systems covering all aspects of the use of legumes in Europe will be published. The research is planned around the appreciation of how nitrogen fertilisation and the production and use of plant protein lie at the heart of many of the global, regional and local environmental challenges arising from agriculture. The project will take a novel strategic approach to knowledge interaction and delivery, in order to enhance and pool existing knowledge platforms and databases. It will then deliver the results into the farming community, commercial use, and policy practice beyond the life of the project. The project will facilitate wide access to new and existing knowledge and technologies and it will promote awareness of the role of legumes in the development of sustainable supply chains and consumption patterns. All research results and products will be put in the public domain, and partnership with all the agents of change, including policy makers, will be a key element of the work.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-2-15 | Award Amount: 9.60M | Year: 2009

The MAIN AIM of the proposed integrating project NUE-CROPS is to develop knowledge, models and tools required to (a) breed/select NUTRIENT USE EFFICIENT (NUE) CROPS and (b) integrate NUE-crops with AGRONOMIC INNOVATIONS to significantly reduce fertiliser use and associated negative environmental impacts of crop production, while maintaining or improving crop yield and quality. The consortium includes 10 academic centres of excellence and 3 large breeding companies in 6 EU member states, China (an ICPC region) and the USA. The strategic CONCEPTS/OBJECTIVES of NUE-CROPS are to support the: 1. DEVELOPMENT OF NUE-VARIETIES of 4 MAJOR EUROPEAN CROPS (wheat, oilseed rape, potato, maize) for different MACROCLIMATIC REGIONS. This will be based on (a) classical QTL identification methods, (b) association genetics approaches, (c) gene expression profiling (and where appropriate proteomic, metabolomic analyses and/or analytical transformation analyses) and (d) whole plant physiological studies. R&D activities will focus on the 4 major crops species, but deliverables from studies with model plants/crops (Arabidopsis, Brassica rapa, barley) will be used as genetic bridges for the genetically complex crops wheat and oilseed rape. 2. INTEGRATION of NUE-CROPS with INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT approaches (e.g. improved fertilisation regimes, rotational designs, winter cover crop use and, tillage systems). This will be based on: (a) field experiments to evaluate the impact of NUE crops under contrasting agronomic scenarios and (b) the construction/validation of models/algorithms for nutrient budgeting/precision farming systems 3. To ESTABLISH an EFFICIENT TRAINING and DISSEMINATION programme aimed at rapid exploitation and application of project deliverables in commercial crop production.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-3-1-01 | Award Amount: 4.14M | Year: 2009

In the METAPRO project we aim to optimise the production of several useful isoprenoid derived secondary metabolites to demonstrate the tools and strategies developed for the generic production of useful secondary metabolites in plants. Astaxanthin (ketocarotenoids) and the apocarotenoid crocin have been selected to demonstrate the application of the technologies adopted and developed. These compounds are of high-value and used in the industrial and health sectors. Both are classical secondary plant metabolites being formed in slow growing species that are not readily amenable to agricultural production. They are non-essential to the plant, synthesised at a defined developmental stage, in specialised tissues, cells and/or cellular compartments. In order to generate cheap renewable bio-resources of these compounds with improved economic and environmental potential, natural variation will be exploited and genetic engineering approaches implemented. Astaxanthin and crocin will be engineered into Solanaceae host platforms. Tomato fruit and potato tuber are ideal cell factories for this class of molecules, as at defined developmental stages their tissues and specialised cellular compartments are pre-disposed to high level isoprenoid formation. To optimise production in these hosts the METAPRO project aims to use modern and emerging technologies to (i) elucidate regulatory mechanisms involved in synthesis, (ii) optimise storage by increasing, altering and transport from, the cellular compartment responsible for synthesis and accumulation, (iii) improve stability of the products in the cell and during bioprocessing and (iv) implement improved transformation, transcription and translation tools for more efficient engineering and improved yields and quality. To achieve these objectives and deliver scientific excellence with impact a multidisciplinary pan-European team with complementary expertise, industrial (SME) participation and global interaction has been constructed.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-SICA | Phase: KBBE-2008-3-1-04 | Award Amount: 2.60M | Year: 2009

Advances in the technologies for expressing proteins and extracting them from plants have allowed several plant-made products to be assessed for safety and efficacy. The results have been favourable and have culminated in the demonstration that plant-produced vaccine can protect target animals against challenge. However, most of these successes have concerned the production of antigens which had previously been produced using established methods such as mammalian cell culture. For plants to fulfil their potential as a means of producing vaccines, it is now imperative that methods are developed for the rapid production and characterisation of a large number of vaccine candidates. This project will exploit recent developments in transient expression technologies to screen a range of vaccine candidates in plants. These methods can produce milligram quantities of candidate proteins in a matter of days using only small amounts (tens of grams) of plant tissue. The project will concentrate on screening vaccine candidate proteins which are capable of forming virus-like particles (VLPs), as such particulate structures are known to be potent stimulators of the immune system. Furthermore, they can be used as carriers of additional immunogenic sequences for the developments of novel vaccines. The project will focus on diseases which are particularly relevant to both the EU and Russia, including Avian Influenza virus (AIV), Blue Tongue Virus (BTV) Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome Virus (PRRSV). The ability to screen many candidate VLPs will result in the development of novel vaccines against these and other important pathogens. At the same time as the screening is carried out, methods will be developed to allow the rapid translation of the information gained through the transient studies into larger scale production systems for the most promising candidates. This will enable low cost vaccines to be developed for use for livestock and, ultimately, humans.

Macfarlane S.A.,Scottish Crop Research Institute
Molecular Plant Pathology | Year: 2010

The tobraviruses, Tobacco rattle virus (TRV), Pea early-browning virus (PEBV) and Pepper ringspot virus (PepRSV), are positive-strand RNA viruses with rod-shaped virus particles that are transmitted between plants by trichodorid nematodes. As a group, these viruses infect many plant species, with TRV having the widest host range. Recent studies have begun to dissect the interaction of TRV with potato, currently the most commercially important crop disease caused by any of the tobraviruses. As well as being successful plant pathogens, these viruses have become widely used as vectors for expression in plants of nonviral proteins or, more frequently, as initiators of virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS). Precisely why tobraviruses should be so effective as VIGS vectors is not known; however, molecular studies of the mode of action of the tobravirus silencing suppressor protein are shedding some light on this process. © 2010 The Author.

Davies H.,Scottish Crop Research Institute
Food Control | Year: 2010

Risk assessment frameworks, such as those used for GM crops, have detailed comparative analysis with appropriate non-GM counterparts as their cornerstone. Opinions have been voiced that current analytical approaches are too specific and need to be complemented by more unbiased, larger scale analysis of gene expression and protein expression using transcriptomics and proteomics, respectively. In parallel, the use of metabolomics has been advocated as an approach to expand significantly the range of metabolites that can be measured to assess more stringently the potential for any unintended effects. Transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics have been termed collectively "omics" technologies. This review assesses the potential for using "omics" techniques in risk assessment. Importantly, the review provides information on sources of natural variation which can result from crop management practices, from interactions between genotype and growing environment and from non-GM breeding systems. This provides an important benchmark for risk assessors and risk managers. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IIF | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IIF | Award Amount: 210.09K | Year: 2013

A great challenge for potato production in the coming decades is to maintain or increase food production with a reduced availability of water. This can be achieved by understanding mechanisms for adaptation to water stress conditions and exploiting the existing variation in the crop and wild relatives. The specific objectives of this project include (a) to understand physiological mechanisms of adaptation to water stress and drought tolerance, and to improve water use (b) to assess the impact of water stress, rainfall variability and climatic change on yield, and other physiological parameters and develop a knowledge base about crop water productivity under different water stress and management practices and identify Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) (c) to capture and identify naturally occurring variation for adaption to water stress conditions and identify genetic regions of interest associated with water stress tolerance and yield under stress by using trait gene correlations aiming at associations due to several years of recombination in potato germplasm (d) to prepare crop models from GE information available on yield and physiological parameters from multi-year trials which will help predict better performing genotypes under prevailing climatic conditions and (e) to link the phenotypic parameters to candidate genes by using information from model plant studies and cereal crops.These objective will be achieved by developing knowledge and tools for breeding for Water Use Efficiency (WUE) which involves: physiological parameter measurements, eco-physiological approaches and agronomical practices in crop production and development of molecular marker resources to map QTLs for environmentally sustainable traits.

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