Proposals shall advance our understanding of the ability of plants to (pre)adapt to specific – often extreme - conditions or to react to sudden changes in their environment.
They will look into the specific mechanisms (genetic, epigenetic, physiological, morphological, metabolic…) and dynamics that underlie adaptive processes of crops and how these responses are modulated by the type and severity of conditions/stresses. In studying adaptation of crops to single or multiple abiotic conditions, work shall also establish potential fitness trade-offs. Proposals are expected to improve capacities for modelling plant adaptation responses in order to better predict changes in plant performance and inform crop improvement and crop management strategies. While taking advantage of findings from (semi) model crops, work shall focus on crop plants and relevant agronomic conditions.
Illustration Photo: Plants genetically engineered to improve photosynthesis, specifically the photorespiratory bypass, are visibly larger than normal plants in this greenhouse field trial. Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is engineering plants to more efficiently turn the sun’s energy into food to sustainably increase worldwide food productivity. The international research project is funded by a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (credits: Claire Benjamin / RIPE ripe.illinois.edu / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))