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We have been granted ERDF funding to accelerate the development of new cucurbit varieties

Semillas Fitó is taking part in a cell biology innovation project entitled "New technological tool for the development of double haploid lines in cucurbits", which aims to develop a protocol for obtaining double haploid lines in cucurbits.

Double haploid lines are genetically predetermined plants that are generated from a gametic cell, such as a microspore or ovule. The ability to produce double haploid lines is an incredibly useful tool for breeding programmes, since it can reduce the time needed to obtain a genetically predetermined line (a parental line) from 5-10 years to 1.5-2 years and can directly be used in hybrid trials. It also represents a source of variability that allows us to create new innovative and successful varieties.

However, developing a double haploid protocol is complex, due to the multiple factors that influence the response of the gametic cells and the induction of embryogenic regeneration. Many experimental tests are required before the specific conditions for an efficient and robust protocol for routine production are met, bearing in mind that the protocols of each species are different. Therefore, this grant is of great help in allowing Semillas Fitó to pursue this line of research and speed up the process of obtaining new varieties.

The research grant has been awarded as part of the Nuclis d'innovació framework, managed by ACCIÓ of the Catalan Government, whose funds come from the 2014-2020 ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) operational programme for Catalonia.

The project will last 3 years and comes with a grant of €125,000, the maximum amount possible, for a total project budget of €319,010.26.

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