The EVA Carrot network met online for their annual meeting on 20 April 2021. Twenty participants from the 14 project partners, EURISCO and the ECPGR Secretariat received updates from the evaluation trials in 2020 and discussed challenges, open questions and next steps for the project. Some partners reported difficulties and delays in their activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but overall results from the first trials of 60 carrot accessions and landraces from European gene banks were promising, showing variation in agronomic and biotic stress traits. Comparisons of results from the different geographic locations will provide interesting insight into the effects of climate and environment on the expression of different traits. Adjustments to the protocols and scoring scales for some traits were discussed and relevant amendments will be implemented.
Activities for 2021 include replicates of the field trials in eleven locations from Portugal to Sweden and regeneration of accessions with a view to creating a new set of carrot accessions for evaluations, possible because of an extension of the project until November 2023. All evaluated accessions will be genotyped to allow analyses of diversity and genomic correlations and results will be linked with the CarrotDiverse activity of the Umbellifer crops WG as much as possible. Additional discussions will be necessary on data analyses approaches and the strategic outlook of the project and will hopefully be possible during an in-person meeting in 2022.
On 11 May 2020, the EVA Carrot network project partners met virtually to receive updates on current activities and discuss open questions and next steps for the project. The 14 participants were informed about activities at Julius-Kühn Institute, where partner Thomas Nothnagel and his team are performing disease assays under controlled conditions. Partners engaged in a general discussion on genotyping strategy, regeneration of accessions and the planning of field trials in 2020, which will mostly take place as planned despite the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions.
After a break, the network partners discussed in detail the proposed trial protocol, including experimental design and crop management. They selected traits of interest, which will be scored during the field trials, differentiating between characterization traits and evaluation traits. Partners agreed that characterization traits mainly comprise general descriptors and will be made available without embargo, while evaluation traits are of interest for breeding activities and will remain accessible only to project partners during a three-year embargo before becoming public.
Evaluators in the EVA Carrot network will be starting the evaluation of 60 carrot accessions and landraces from European genebanks in June 2020.