The Spanish Plant Genetic Resources Centre (CRF) belongs to the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) depending on the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), a State Agency for scientific research and technological development.
INIA is responsible for the management and coordination of agrofood research at national level and for the execution of research projects, in collaboration with socioeconomic sectors. The CRF's main objective is helping to prevent the loss of genetic diversity of native plant species, landraces and ecotypes, as well as neglected or underutilised cultivars and crop wild relatives with a genetic potential to be used in breeding programmes for food and agriculture. All these materials, known as Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), are the raw material for breeding new plant varieties to face climate change conditions and for the development of new farming systems. Many of these materials, not cultivated at present, would have disappeared unless institutions such as the CRF had taken care of their conservation.
CRF has the legal mandate to maintain the Spanish base collection as safety duplicates of all Spanish seed collections of the Spanish Programme for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation on PGRFA and the on line National Inventory of the Spanish Collections Network as well as to coordinate this network.
Thus, CRF has an extended experience in databases and data integration, the National Inventory contains data associated with passport information, collection missions, ecogeography, management, exchange, characterisation and evaluation, graphic data information, and we are developing new utilities to include GIS based descriptors, images and others on data repositories. Besides, CRF manages active collections of cereals, legumes and industrial crops accordingly to international standards. CRF has also an experimental field of 110 ha used for regeneration and multiplication when necessary, or for phenotyping activities when agro/morphologic biochemical and molecular characterisation are required. Prospection and collection of landraces and crop wild relatives under threat of extinction is another important goal in CRF.
We collaborate with CBGP (Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics) in transcriptomic analysis on Vetch to detect drought tolerance genes, and we also collaborate actively in PGRFA with IRIAF that is INIA´s Third Party.
Role within INCREASE
CSIC is crop leader for chickpea and a member of the Steering Committee. Hence, CSIC participates in all work packages, including the management and scientific coordination and Innovation related activities. Our most important contribution will be linked with our expertise as genebank: the database establishment and data integration, focus on definition of phenotypic traits (work package 2); the information production, and phenotyping of chickpea in field trials (work package 4, task 4.2) and the germplasm management (work package 6, tasks 6.1 and 6.2).
As leader of chickpea, CSIC participates actively in work package 3 in sampling core collections (task 3.1), SSD development, DNA extraction and seed (task 3.2) but also to harmonise data acquisition of task 3.4 at the seed-increase stage. In relation with work package 5, CSIC contributes to the tasks 5.1 and 5.2. In lentils, our contribution is secondary but we also collaborate directly in trait definition and phenotyping, and also IRIAF will contribute to lentils field trials (task 4.2).