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Last update: May 2021

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Controlling Variation In Germination and seed vigour in Oilseed Rape for optimal yield Stability

The Convigour Project

  • 3 year programme, started in 2011
  • Plant KBBE Project Call (Transnational PLant Alliance for Novel Technologies – towards implementing the Knowledge-Based Bio-Economy in Europe
  • Coordinator:Dr. Gunhild Leckband (German Seed Alliance GmbH, Germany) – French coordinator: Dr. Nathalie Nesi
  • Contact:


Context and Issues

To stabilise high yield levels growers require the rapid establishment of optimum plant stands under many different environmental conditions. Because germination refers to the ability of a seed to produce a normal seedling under favourable conditions, selection of seedlots on the basis of germination characteristics alone will not necessarily identify those that will be most successful in seedling establishment.

The aim of CONVIGOUR is to determine the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms influencing genetic variation for seed vigour in Brassica napus and develop new bio- and genetic markers for breeding of new cultivars with enhanced vigour and yield stability.

In particular the project aims to:

  • Understand the impact of seed and seed coat structure and chemical composition on seed vigour
  • Determine the roles of micronutrients and phytohormones on germination performance and vigour
  • Understand the responses of these seed traits to environmental factors in order to investigate the Genotype x Environment interactions
  • Develop bio-markers and high-throughput metabolic and genetic screening tools for breeding of new cultivars with enhanced seed vigour and environmental stable yield


The objectives proposed in this project will be achieved by high-throughput phenotyping and genotyping of a large collection of genetically diverse B. napus genotypes. The industrial partners will provide expertise in field-based phenotyping and Brassica biology, and will benefit from the application of new genetic and bio-markers. A tight partner network has been established according to the respective expertise of the industry and research partners

Main Result

As a result we first expect to gain major improvements in breeding and seed production by better understanding the phenotypes of seed production failures in certain genotypes or under certain environmental conditions. This will lead to identification of candidate genes and bio-markers that are expected to increase the efficiency of breeding for seed quality traits in B. napus. CONVIGOUR represents a concerted transnational effort to attain a comprehensive systems-level understanding of B. napus seed vigour, its response and adaptation to the environment and its influence on yield. Through the selection of excellent complementary partners, combining four different technology platforms in three countries, we expect to generate considerable amounts of new data and knowledge on seed vigour, and to translate these resources into innovative prediction and modeling tools in commercial breeding practice. The CONVIGOUR network will consolidate and expand existing transnational research efforts and bring together some of the leading partners in European oilseed rape and North American canola breeding and research.


The CONVIGOUR project combines 9 public and private partners from 3 different countries (Germany, France and Canada).

  • German Seed Alliance GmbH (GSA), Hohenlieth – Germany
  • KWS Saat AG (KWS), Einbeck – Germany
  • Justus Liebig University (UGI), Giessen – Germany
  • Leibniz-Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK), Gatersleben – Germany
  • RAGT R2n, La Chapelle d’Armentières – France
  • GEVES: Station Nationale d'Essais de Semences, Beaucouzé – France
  • UMR1349 IGEPP, INRA Rennes, Agrocampus Ouest, University of Rennes1 – France
  • UMR1245 IRHS, INRA Angers, Agrocampus Ouest, University of Angers – France
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Saskatoon – Canada

Funding and Support

Funding by ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche)