Biotech Updates

New Project to Develop Drought- and Disease-Resistant Crops

April 4, 2012

A new EU-funded project that aims to develop drought- and disease-tolerant crops was recently launched in the United Kingdom. The project, called ABSTRESS (Improving the resistance of legume crops to combined abiotic and biotic stress), will run for 5 years under the 'Food, agriculture and fisheries, and biotechnology' Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Led by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), the €3M project intends to develop new plant varieties through molecular and computational techniques that will identify processes associated with drought and disease - the major stresses of crops. The project will also identify novel genes and biochemical pathways to improve plant resistance to these factors.

ABSTRESS brings together researchers from 13 institutions in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Dr. Adrian Charlton, FERA's project leader said, "This project brings together the very best expertise in plant-based molecular biology and biochemistry in Europe and should lead to groundbreaking improvements in the techniques used for crop breeding."

More details are available at and