EVA Wheat and Barley Project Meetings

EVA Wheat and Barley project meeting 25-26 January, Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Italy

On 25-26 January 2024 the EVA Wheat and Barley network met for their annual project meeting in Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Italy, co-hosted by partner CREA-GB. In addition to 28 in-person representatives, another 29 connected online to discuss progress in the project, review analysis results and plan the next steps. The network has so far collected data on 48 traits from 254 trials, adding up to nearly 300,000 datapoints in the database. Data curation is, however, still ongoing for 2023 trials in order to complete this very complex dataset. Initial analyses have identified a number of marker-trait associations, which will be further verified and compared across datasets from different regions. Partners involved in the Horizon project AGENT presented an update on the genotyping of the AGENT precision collections, part of which has been included in the third accession set of EVA Wheat and Barley. A large part of the AGENT material is as yet unexplored, and genotypic and phenotypic data produced in AGENT, together with employing a FIGS approach developed in the project, will facilitate assembling future accession sets that are preselected based on breeders’ priorities.  

While the main output of the EVA Wheat and Barley network will be to provide breeders with useful material and potential markers for further breeding, several ideas for the publication of results were developed during the meeting. Options for future work of the consortium were discussed, including continuing the evaluation of landraces and some pre-breeding activities. Continuation of the network beyond the current project, which finishes with the end of AGENT in early 2025, will be planned based on feedback and priorities of current partners, which will be collected in a survey.  

The meeting also included a visit to CREA-GB's facilities, which feature a new phenotyping facility for evaluation of drought stress and equipment for medium-throughput sequencing and marker analysis used in their joint breeding programmes with Italian breeders.  

The meeting report is available [here].

EVA Wheat and Barley annual project meeting, 17-18 November 2022, Freising, Germany

The EVA Wheat and Barley network met for their first in-person project meeting in Freising, Germany, co-hosted by the Bavarian Research Center for Agriculture (LfL). To enable the participation of as many partners as possible, the meeting was held in hybrid form and more than 40 participants joined online the 21 representatives from 19 partners present in Freising to review the project progress and discuss the next steps. During two years of field trials, more than 250 evaluation datasets have been collected by partners and are currently being curated and uploaded to the project database. While partners reported difficulties with lodging material, a phenotype often observed in material cultivated and collected before the Green Revolution of the 1960s, a lot of interesting data have been collected on wheat and barley diseases in the different locations. Although the evaluations are continuing with trials in 2023 on a third set of accessions provided through participation in the Horizon2020 project AGENT, the focus is now shifting to the analysis of the collected data. Preliminary results are promising to identify useful breeding materials as well as potential markers for disease resistances. Partners expressed their general satisfaction with the project progress, identified issues that could be improved and agreed to work on a data analysis and publication strategy as well as on a project proposal for a potential EVA Wheat and Barley 2.0. The first results of the full dataset analysis from 2021 and 2022 will be discussed during an online meeting in early 2023, and the network is planning to meet in person again later in the project to further discuss their future collaboration.

The meeting report can be found [here]

EVA Wheat and Barley 2nd Annual project meeting - 21 October 2021 - virtual meeting

On 21 October 2021, the EVA Wheat and Barley Network met online for their second annual project meeting. During the day-long meeting, the 64 participants from 40 partner organizations received updates, reviewed ongoing activities and discussed next steps.

In 2021, the first round of evaluations was carried out in around 100 sites across Europe, yielding a large amount of phenotypic data with an emphasis on biotic stress traits.

Participants shared their experience with constraints (low disease pressure, excessive lodging in some locations) and opportunities (possible use of artificial inoculation for some diseases, need to provide accurate field and meteorological data). The overall coordination was strengthened to prepare for subsequent rounds of evaluation. 

The EURISCO-EVA intranet, which was presented during the meeting, will serve as a useful tool to store and visualize these collected phenotypic data, while genotypic data will be associated, but stored in existing specialized public repositories. Data management and analysis were identified as the most important issues to ensure the success of the project. Partners discussed joint approaches and nominated some of the leaders who will be responsible to respectively coordinate these tasks for barley and wheat in the three geographic regions of the network and among themselves. Data curation of the first round is expected to be completed by the end of February 2022.

The Wheat and Barley Network is the largest and most complex of the ECPGR EVA networks, bringing together 48 partners from 21 countries, and interacting also with the Horizon2020 project AGENT (www.agent-project.eu). AGENT is providing material and genotyping data from partner genebanks’ precision collections, which will be evaluated in multi-location trials within the EVA network starting in 2023.

The project is progressing well and an in-person project meeting will hopefully be possible in spring 2022.

The meeting report can be found here (308,8 KB)

EVA Wheat and Barley Project meeting, 5 May 2020 - virtual meeting

On 05 May 2020, 50 representatives from the project partners in the EVA Wheat and Barley network met virtually to receive updates on current activities and discuss open questions and next steps for this project. Participants were informed about progress in the ongoing multiplication of accessions of different crop types, including impressions from the field during a virtual field trip. Genebank suppliers provided background information on selection criteria and origin of accessions used in the project. During parallel sessions for the northern, central and southern geographical zones in Europe, which focus on different but overlapping crop types for the evaluation, participants discussed traits, protocols and distribution of tasks. 
Several task forces will be established as a result of this meeting, to define the genotyping methods, field trial setups, common standard protocols and data collection approaches, as well as an overall steering committee which should provide advice and oversight to the project.  
All project partners reiterated their interest and commitment to this project, which continues to be open to new partners. Especially the central and southern zones noted a need for additional evaluation sites in different countries to complement those currently available.
The EVA Wheat and Barley network is well on track and will continue its work to evaluate accessions and landraces from European genebanks, starting the first evaluation field trials in Autumn 2020. 


EVA Networks
The EVA project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food
and Agriculture for the period 2019-2024.