The research activities of the ECOBREED project are coming to an end. Within the work package dealing with buckwheat research, we have made great progress over the last five years, especially in the characterisation and functionality of individual traits in the global collection of buckwheat genetic resources.
Our results have recently been published in two original scientific papers in high-impact journals and one monographic publication.
In ECOBREED: Diversity of buckwheat genetic resources (Fagopyrum spp.), the predefined descriptors (IPGRI, UPOV) and photographic material for Fagopyrum sp. of a total of 239 buckwheat genetic resources are characterised and described for the first time. The book is aimed at a wide range of interested readers, from farmers and students to breeders and researchers, who can familiarise themselves with the collected heritage of buckwheat, preserved in European gene banks for future generations. The material contained in the publication was the basis for our further work.
In the original scientific article in Plants we compared genetic sources with parameters of phenotypic and genetic variability, presented their genetic structure and relatedness, established core collections of both species and identified trait-associated markers. It is the first such comprehensive simultaneous morphological and molecular characterisation and comparison of global buckwheat germplasm.
Together with colleagues from China and Slovenian and European scientists working on the genome, transcriptome and metabolome of buckwheat, we have published a study in one of the world’s leading journals of plant molecular biology, namely Molecular Plant, using comparative and population genomic approaches to uncover key determinants of the synthesis of specific metabolites and fertility of common buckwheat. Population and evolutionary genomics reveal genetic variations associated with environmental adaptability and flower development between Chinese and non-Chinese cultivars. The results shed light on the genetic basis of buckwheat’s speciation, ecological adaptation, fertility and unique flavour, and provide new resources for future genomics-assisted breeding of this economically important crop.