The main objectives are as follows :
* To develop an improved method for screening for resistance to stem rot in rapeseed.
* To identify new sources of resistance to stem rot among Chinese germplasm.
* To introduce new sources of resistance to stem rot into rapeseed varieties using crossing programmes based on both traditional genetic analysis and newly-developed molecular markers for resistance to stem rot.
* To identify constitutive and inducible biochemical systems that contribute to resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.
* To identify cultural practices that discourage the development of stem rot epidemics, based on new information on the epidemiology of the pathogen.
* To devise strategies for the integrated control of stem rot in China and in Europe that combine improved rapeseed varieties and better cultural practices.
The project will develop new, more efficient biotechnology-based methods to strengthen Chinese and European resistance-breeding programmes, and identify improvements to existing cultivation systems that will remove the danger that new resistance is overcome by high pathogen inoculum pressure.
The key activities envisaged are :
* Testing inoculation methods for screening for resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on 15-20 locally adapted lines from China.
* A diallel cross will be made to obtain F1 progenies for conventional genetic analysis of characteristics of resistance.
* Identification of molecular markers for resistance using Bulk Segregant Analysis to identify potential RAPD or AFLP fragments linked to major genes for resistance. These markers will be mapped through existing rapeseed reference maps. Peptide sequence analysis of proteins involved in the expression of resistance will be used to design DNA probes for evaluation as resistance gene markers.
* Investigation of the constitutive biochemical differences and biochemical responses in "susceptible" and "resistant" lines. The analysis will indicate which systems contribute most to resistance.
* The epidemiological factors that favour spore dispersal, infection and symptom expression by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum will be studies in field and controlled environment experiments in Europe and field studies in China. In China, the development of the disease will be related to crop structure, flowering time, and the size and orientation of petals and leaves, in order to identify mechanisms of disease avoidance.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts