AKER-Porte-graine en salle de croisements vWebThe AKER program is up and running. The researchers have been brought together to take stock of their work. The first phase, selecting the 15 reference plants around which the program will be built, has been positive.

The researchers involved in the AKER program met up on 24 and 25 September 2013 in Arras, in France's Pas-de-Calais region, to take stock of their work during the annual Coordinating Committee session. During two days, each of the seven working groups reviewed the progress made to date, with the groups discussing their findings together and checking the progress made on their work with the AKER program's Scientific Committee.

2013 has been focused in particular on the selection of the 15 reference plants within a population of 3,000 genetic resources from among the 10,000 available in gene banks worldwide.

Karine Henry, a sugar beet and chicory breeder at Florimond Desprez and the AKER program's Scientific Director, commented on the results already achieved: "With 15 plants, we are able to cover 100% of the allelic variability available within the beta genus, supplementing the genetic resources already used at present".

Mitchell McGrath, a geneticist in the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) beet and soya unit, and Chairman of the AKER program's Scientific Committee, presented the following conclusion on the work during the 2013 session: "The AKER program is very ambitious, but it has already accomplished great things".

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