A team of scientists from the New South Wales Department of Primary
Industries (DPI) in Australia took a closer look at the canola plant's
genome and was able to detect multiple genes in eight regions of the genome
that can be used to develop new canola varieties resistant to the blackleg
After three years of studying the canola under field and greenhouse
conditions, the scientists were finally able to identify the genes that can
become a durable source with multigene resistance to the blackleg disease.
Blackleg disease has been a problem in Australia since the 1970s. It is
caused by a fungus whose pathogen is highly diverse. On a global scale,
blackleg disease remains a threat as well.
According to lead research scientist Dr. Harsh Raman, it is important to
continuously seek and discover new sources of major and quantitative
resistance in canola to minimize yield loses. Major resistance genes are
helpful, but do not offer long-term protection to canola plants because of
the blackleg pathogen's ability to mutate and render the major genes
ineffective over time. Quantitative resistance, on the other hand, is
difficult to select and is complicated by environmental factors. Thus,
molecular markers linked with resistant loci could be used to enhance
blackleg resistance in canola germplasm.
These new findings can then become the basis for other scientists to produce
elite varieties of canola with quantitative resistance, providing canola
longer-lasting protection against the blackleg disease.