ForBio Annual Meeting 2018
A new MSCA Innovative Training Network: Plant.ID, molecular identification of plants for the world of tomorrow.
Many of the nearly 400,000 species of plants provide food, feed, medicines, and construction materials. Besides these positive impacts, plants also affect us negatively through pollen allergies, poisonous species, as invasive species, and as adulterants in herbal medicines. Nevertheless, plants are the most promising biological resource for our future. Current extinction risks of global flora and vast decline in taxonomic expertise demand accurate and rapid identification approaches to understand and valorise botanical biodiversity. Advances in genomic data and DNA sequencing are revolutionizing plant systematics, and modern molecular identification methods make it possible to accurately determine plants in ways that were technically impossible only a decade ago. To efficiently harvest the potential of the opportunities provided by new genomic techniques, society today is in urgent need of trained biosystematists experienced in both taxonomy and in handling enormous amounts of genomic data. Plant.ID, led by the Natural History Museum in Oslo, will be training a group of 15 PhD students working in different institutions in Europe to innovatively address these challenges by bringing together academic and non-academic partners including regulatory agencies, industry, SMEs and NGO stakeholders, with the aim of developing molecular identification of plants through tailored approaches to species delimitation, metabarcoding, gene capture, and genomic barcoding, in order to empower stakeholders with simplified molecular identification of plants. We will provide an overview of the planned projects and show how these are connected and address the challenges above.