InnovOat is a five year (September 2014 - September 2019) project funded through the BBSRC LINK scheme. It is led by Aberystwyth University with partners NIAB, Heriot Watt University, Senova and the BOBMA research group. The aims are to use modern breeding technologies to capture and enhance the proven health benefits of oats in new oat varieties.


The project will develop and apply state-of-the-art genomic and metabolomic tools for oat genetic improvement. Its primary focus is on the understanding and manipulation of key traits that will enhance the value of oats in human health improvement. It will develop new varieties which will enhance health benefits whilst capitalising on the value of oats as a low input cereal, and increase the environmental and economic sustainability of cereal based rotations.


It comprises six work packages (WP). The first three WP are developing the powerful enabling technologies dealing with genetics, genomics and their application to different breeding schemes. This also includes the development of specific populations to test these methods and provide accurate phenotypic data. WP4 includes the metabolite characterisation of various components of oat grains and their relevance to human health and nutrition. WP5 integrates the previous work packages into the breeding programmes and WP6 deals with dissemination of the results.


This multi-disciplinary programme which combines modern genetic and phenotypic methodologies with the expertise of oat breeders and end-users, will also address long-term breeding goals by developing experimental populations which are polymorphic for agronomically important traits but more amenable to mapping and forward genetic approaches than conventional agronomic lines.

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Contact: Catherine Howarth,