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Cornet RustControl

Project Name: RustControl – Improving stem rust resistance in rye by genetic and molecular tools / Verbesserung der Schwarzrostresistenz mit genetischer und molekularer Methoden
Project Duration: 01.02.2017 – 31.01.2019
Stem rust (Puccinia graminis f. sp. secalis) is one of the most destructive diseases in rye (Secale cereale L.) causing yield losses of about 30 to 50 % in many regions/countries including Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia. Because stem rust appears later in growth stage, chemical control cannot be combined with leaf rust control, but affords additional fungicide applications. Therefore, growing of resistant cultivars would be the most environmentally friendly and cost effective way for preventing losses. But at the moment, no resistant cultivar exists, neither in Germany nor in Poland.
We aim for
  1. virulence analysis of stem-rust populations in Germany and Poland to monitor race composition and complexity as a prerequisite to estimate durability of resistance,
  2. establishment of a diversity panel of cultivars/populations with a varying degree of stem rust resistance,
  3. identification of new stem rust resistance genes by leaf-segment tests,
  4. molecular analysis of segregating rye populations for adult-plant stem rust resistance, and
  5. association mapping as “case-control study” with foreign germplasm resources.

Tasks 1 – 3 will be fulfilled by JKI for Germany and IPP-NRI for Poland in a balanced working scheme. The outcome of tasks 4 - 5 will be distributed among German and Polish partners, Polish germplasm and testing sites are involved.
These innovation targets will result in
  • defined, highly virulent stem rust races necessary for resistance testing,
  • new, effective resistance genes that can be used in breeding programs and
  • linked molecular markers enabling the breeding companies to efficiently select for the first time for stem-rust resistances in the adult-plant stage.
As marker system, we will use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) based on Infinium and KASP assays that were very recently established for use in winter rye.
Winter rye is an important cereal in both, Germany and Poland grown on a total of 1.8 million hectares representing 70 % of the total production within the EU. With global climate change the frequency of epidemics with thermophilic stem rust might increase. The partnership among the German and Polish researchers gathered by this project offers complementary skills with regard to all competences (plant pathology, plant breeding, population genetics, biostatistics, molecular markers) required for this multidisciplinary approach. All leading rye breeding companies of the two countries are involved in the SME user committee and support this proposal with specific genetic materials, field sites, and manpower.
The pre-competitive character of the project is given by the analysis of germplasm resources that need a long-term improvement before possible use in commercial cultivars. Stem-rust resistance will become important for registration of cultivars within the VCU testing (value for cultivation and use) in the future. Then, rye cultivars with improved stem rust resistance will open new markets in Eastern Europe. This will promote the products of the participating breeding companies for both, German and Polish rye growing.

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