[ASC-media] MODEL LEGUME PARADES GENES: Crop Doctor

BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Jan 30 01:43:14 CET 2008


MODEL LEGUME PARADES GENES 30.1.08<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
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Necrotrophic fungal pathogens – fungi obtaining nutrients from dead or dying
plant cells – such as root rot, black spot and Fusarium wilt, cost growers
millions of dollars a year.

 

According to Professor Richard Oliver, Director of the Grains Research and
Development Corporation (GRDC) supported Australian Research Centre for
Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens (ACNFP) at WA’s Murdoch University, fungal
necrotrophic diseases are the greatest constraint to the long term viability
of Australian grain legume production.

 

Recorded crop losses from these pathogens, at around 25 per cent, erode
grower confidence and reduce income.


 


Phytophthora medicaginis, which causes root rot in chickpeas, costs up to
$3.5 million in crop loss and control measures in Australia.


 

Expanding and maintaining legume cropping area is therefore directly linked
to providing robust crop protection solutions.

 

Professor Oliver’s ACFNP team has identified strong resistance to key fungal
diseases of grain legumes, including Ascochyta species, Phoma medicaginis
and Fusarium oxysporum in the legume Barrel Medic or Medicago truncatula.

 

According to Professor Oliver, legume crops have been regarded as too small
to justify the expense of developing a set of markers, traits and maps for
effective-marker assisted breeding and legume breeding is therefore hampered
by a lack of molecular tools.

 

However, M. truncatula and other legume species show synteny, or
co-linearity of the gene order and Barrel medic can be used as a model
legume to map genes coding for disease resistance in other legume species.

 

With GRDC support, Dr Judith Lichtenzveig has identified three genomic
regions coding for M. truncatula resistance to Fusarium wilt, which affects
many crops, including faba bean, pea, lentil and chickpea.

 

Dr Simon Ellwood has mapped genes for resistance to Phoma, a close relative
of the pea black spot pathogen.

 

According to Dr Lichtenzveig, conserving gene structure and function among
related legume species will enable scientists to understand the relationship
between genotype and resistance in the less examined crops such as chickpea
and lupin.

 

The close genetic relationship between the model species and other legumes
will help in molecular marker and accelerated crop development.

 

Molecular markers are being used to develop maps for genes conferring
resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens in lupin, chickpea, lentil,
lucerne and faba bean.

 

www.grdc.com.au

 


The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6166 4500


Further Information: Professor Richard Oliver, Tel 08 9360 7404


GRDC REF: CDJan083.doc/UMU00021/Rainbow

Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing 
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122


 

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