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Glucosinolate accumulation and insect resistance

Glucosinolates are ecologically important plant secondary compounds from the Brassicales/Capparales. They contribute to the quality and health characteristics of crop plants. The genetics of glucosinolate biosynthesis and variation was investigated in several Arabidopsis ecotypes and in progeny from crosses between Arabidopsis ecotypes. One major QTL was precisely identified which controls glucosinolate profiles and resistance to generalist insect herbivores. A single enzyme-encoding locus determines the side chain length of methionine-derived (aliphatic) glucosinolates in Arabidopsis, and contributes to resistance against generalist insect herbivores. Statistical methods of molecular population genetics detected a signiture of balancing selection for one of the genes encoded at this locus, maintaining unusually high levels of nucleotide and amino acid polymorphism at intermediate frequency in Arabidopsis thaliana. These results may help manipulate glucosinolate profiles in cruciferous crop plants, either by transgenic approaches or by marker-assisted breeding.

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Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften
Hans-Knöll-Str. 8
07745 Jena
Germany
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