POLAPGEN-BD project financing and conformity with Operational Programme Innovative Economy 2007 - 2013.

POLAPGEN-BD project is executed within the framework of Action 1.3, Subaction 1.3.1. of Innovative Economy Programme 2007 – 2013, under the subject „Biological progress in agriculture and environment protection”. For the innovativeness, competitiveness and entrepreneurship aspect, it is directly connected with breeding and biotechnological companies, farming products processing, food producers and units registering crop varieties, and also indirectly connected with providing general services (e.g. computer services).

The general aim of the project is to enhance competitiveness of breeding firms producing cereal varieties and development of biotechnological services in Poland. Detailed purposes concern description of determinants of cereal’s resistance to water deficiency for spring barley as a model plant, and subsequently using this knowledge to describe biotechnological instruments to obtain resistant forms. This is the action that will lead to a biological progress.

In the past the biological progress was realized through the classical phenotypic selection on production traits. Recently the biological progress in crop breeding is oriented towards forms adapted to limited environmental resources, which requires not only traditional expertise of breeders, but also the availability of modern biotechnological instruments helping during the breeding process. Such instruments will bring economic benefits resulting from an acceleration and decreasing costs of new breeding strains.

Creating innovative instruments requires a serious research expenditures within the range of genomics, genetics and agrotechnology. According to information revealed (in limited range) by biotechnological companies, they are realizing comprehensive research of plant materials used in breeding. This information is the basis for the selection of forms in the breeding programs. Polish breeding companies have limited possibility in this area due to a lack of information about parental forms. For this reason Polish companies aren’t competitive in many cases in comparison with foreign enterprises. This project is aimed at filling the technological gap and supply methods of obtaining new breeding strains for breeders; achievement of such results is impossible without special financing.

The aim of the project is also completely consistent with the second part of thematic area – environmental protection. All research operations will be realized in collaboration with experts in agricultural environment. The solution will involve placing the results in the context of a geographic model of water deficiency and its time projection. The long-range time projection is specially important due to the fact that plant breeding is a long-term process by nature

The project is also aimed at creating prototype biotechnological services, which could be provided to breeders and agricultural producers. We will obtain markers helpful to assess drought tolerance and find methods to estimate resistance. This will reduce time necessary to introduce a new variety and create new jobs in the biotechnology sector.

Similar projects are financially supported in other countries, e.g. within the ERA-Plant Genomics platform (BARCODE, EXBARDIV), in Germany by GABI, in United Kingdom (AGOUEB) and in the USA (BarleyCAP). This has positive impact on cooperation between science units and biotechnological companies. It leads to development of technological, computer and consulting companies.

The research aspect of the project is crucial and has special social meaning. The first „green revolution”, which took place in the 1960s, was aimed to change crops properties in order to improve fertilizer assimilation and resistance to diseases (i.a., the dwarfing gene was introduced). Generating new strains of plants to better (optimal) exploitation of limited natural resources like water will lead to the agricultural progress ensuring food for humanity and renewable energy supply. This is the aim of the „second green resolution” (Wollenweber i in. 2005).

Finally, the project will have a positive effect on enhancing competitiveness of Polish science units in the labour market and in R&D services.