Open call #1

Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) in strawberry

Marker assisted selection is a method used to select desirable individuals in a breeding programme based on DNA molecular marker patterns in addition to their trait values. This can serve as a valuable tool to assist breeders to select new genotypes more efficiently. In this project, we will evaluate the predictive capacity of molecular markers and their usefulness for MAS. The selected markers are either already published or currently under research within the BreedingValue consortium, and have been validated in diverse strawberry germplasm for a reduced number of cases. We will focus on identifying molecular markers for the traits listed in the annex at the end of the document, such as disease resistances, fruit quality as well as vegetative and production traits. For the project, a low-density SNP array for Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) is currently under development in cooperation with an external facility, that will perform the genotyping for the breeders selected in this Open Call. The genotyping costs will be covered by the BreedingValue consortium.

The objective of this Open Call
The objective of this Open Call #1 is to share this easy-to-use tool with the selected external breeders to facilitate the selection of superior breeding material. In return, the results obtained by the breeders will allow the BreedingValue consortium to validate the low-density SNP array in larger genetic backgrounds.

In this Open Call, we will fund 3 projects à 20,000€.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for breeders and pre-breeders working on cultivated strawberry (F. ×ananassa), who are interested in training on marker-assisted selection but currently have no or little experience with this. Applicants will need to provide during the course of the project phenotyping data on some (as many as possible) of the traits listed in the annex. Phenotyping protocols will be provided by the BreedingValue project. Genotyping will be done using the array under development for at least 300 lines of strawberries. The exact number of lines will depend on the number of traits recorded by the breeder. The breeder must also be able to provide extracted DNA (the technique can be provided by the BreedingValue consortium if needed) and have an interest to develop and apply MAS on own breeding material.

For a complete description of the specific requirements, you should fulfill for this Open Call please consult the Guide for Applicants.

Your benefits
If you are selected for this Open Call, you will:

  • Receive training on marker-assisted selection
  • Obtain support for phenotyping and genotyping of selected material
  • Obtain support in setting up and conducting marker-assisted selection on your own material.

Eligibility criteria
You are qualified to apply for this Open Call if you fulfill the following criteria:

  •  You have to be legally registered in member states of the European Union or in Horizon 2020 associated countries
  • The application has to be submitted before the deadline of the Open Call;
  • The application has to be in the English language;
  • The application has to be complete (including all required signatures);
  • The application has to address one of the four topics of the Open Calls within BreedingValue;
  • Absence of conflict of interest: You may not have an actual and/or potential conflict of interest during the application process and project implementation (see Declaration of Honour). Accordingly, members currently involved in the BreedingValue project as beneficiaries, subcontracts, linked (third) parties and advisors are not eligible to apply. Should any conflict of interest arise, this will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Funding scheme
The Open Calls in BreedingValue apply a lump sum funding scheme. Payments will be made after the successful submission of reports.

In order to qualify for financial assistance within this call, breeders will be asked to give an outline on how the money will be spent to meet the outlined criteria (DNA extraction, phenotyping, genotyping, attending trainings, travel etc.). For more details, please consult the Proposal Template and the Guide for Applicants.

  • Milestone 1: Validation of the lists of genotypes and traits to be scored (April 2022).

  • Milestone 2: Training (1-2 days) in France or Spain on the MAS approach (phenotyping protocols for MAS validation, steps for array development) (April – May 2022).

  • Milestone 3: Phenotyping 1st year of the material studied in this project (at least 300 genotypes) with a complete excel file (list of genotypes and their corresponding phenotyping data). Phenotyping in Southern Europe will start before official project start (April – October 2022).

  • Milestone 4: Send the DNA material to the genotyping facility after the DNA extraction of at least 300 genotypes (September – December 2022)
    The first payment will be made after an interim report confirming the milestone achievement has been submitted and approved (January 2023, 50% of total funding).

  • Milestone 5: Pre-genetic analysis based on genotyping data and phenotyping data of the 1st year. Collaboration between BreedingValue partners (INRAe, IFAPA) and the breeders (April – December 2023).

  • Milestone 6: Phenotyping 2nd year of the material studied in this project (at least 300 genotypes) for 2 years (January – October 2023).

  • Milestone 7: Final genetic analysis based on genotyping data and phenotyping data of both years. Collaboration between BreedingValue partners (INRAe, IFAPA) and the breeders (October 2023 – May 2024).

  • Milestone 8: Final workshop (1-2 days) in France or Spain (June - August 2024).

The final payment will be made after a final report has been submitted and approved (September 2024, 50 % of total funding).

Please note that in case ethical issues were identified in the application phase, additional deliverables for monitoring of these issues will be added as contractual requirements during the Sub-Grant-Agreement negotiation.

Application, Evaluation and Project Preparation Timeline

Application timeline

Open Call #1 Project Implementation Timeline

The Open Call project will run for 2.5 years, from 2022 to 2024.

Implementation timeline

Additional information (December 7th, 2021)
We have received several questions from potential applicants and would like to provide additional information on the Open Call #1. A total of three projects will be funded in the Open Call #1. The three breeders selected will have the chance to benefit from the development of a new Fluidigm array covering a large number of agronomical traits. Five BreedingValue partners are currently working together to develop and validate this array. The three breeders selected will test this array on their own breeding material.

Question 1: Which access will selected breeders have to the Fluidigm array and the sequences included in this array?

The Fluidigm array is currently under development and is based on published and unpublished sequences. Unpublished sequences used in the array will not be available before publishing, toward the end of the project.

Question 2: How will data be shared between the selected breeders and BreedingValue partners?

Selected breeders could code their accessions as numbers but they have to provide the corresponding phenotype of these coded accessions. It will be appreciated to have the clearest information possible on the material:

  • name of the variety for those that are registered or old varieties
  • if it is a selection, include the parents if possible.

To be efficient, all results will be merged in order to validate the markers (data from BreedingValue partners and from the three selected breeders). We can code the origin of the partners/applicants to keep them anonymous.

Additional information (December 13th, 2021)
We would like to provide additional information on the status of the development of the selected markers. The array is under development and BreedingValue partners are currently working on the sequences and traits to include. At this stage, we can specify that:

  • about 70% of the selected markers are issued from publications. Based on these publications, the BreedingValue partners have been developing new SNP assays for the Fluidigm array.
  • about 30% of the selected markers are currently under research within the BreedingValue consortium. For these markers, the BreedingValue partners are developing as well new SNP assays for the Fluidigm array. The breeders selected will get better insights on the array at a later stage.

How to apply
Applications can only be made via e-mail and have to be submitted under the following address:

Please observe the instructions for formatting and submissions in the Guide for Applicants.

For those interested, we are offering a webinar on 23 November 2021 from 10am to 11am CET where we will present the Open Call in detail. If you would like to participate in the webinar, please register at


The deadline for submissions is 31st December 2021 at 17:00 CET. Applications after the deadline will not be considered for evaluation.

Documents for application
All relevant documents for the application can be found here.

Contact Info

Please note that due to Christmas break, questions addressed to will be answered only till December 21st.