Clubroot resistance gene function based on whole genome sequences, genome editing and resistancephenotypes

Project Details

Status: Active
Investment: $833,332
Commodity: Canola
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Stephen Strelkov

Clubroot is one of the most important disease issues in Canadian canola. The deployment of genetically resistance cultivars is the most effective and widely used strategy to manage this disease, but new pathotypes have emerged that can overcome host resistance.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae) is a critical disease in canola that threatens a crop that contributed $12.9B (2022) in exports to Canada’s economy (AB $4B). By infecting the plant’s root, clubroot disrupts water and nutrient uptake, resulting in stunted growth, reduced seed quality, and significant yield losses of up to 50%.

Project Investigator, Dr. Stephen Strelkov, Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Alberta will lead an expert team in:

  • Breeding resistance into new crop varieties.

  • Developing new ways to control the pathogen.

  • Identifying clubroot resistance genes.

Outcomes from this research project will enable a unique and large-scale analysis of the genetics of clubroot resistance (CR), yielding multiple benefits including: better-characterized resistance genes and understanding of their function; potential resistance gene labeling approaches; improved resistance stewardship; the development of tightly linked molecular markers for marker-assisted selection; and an enhancement of the capacity for knowledge-based breeding in canola.

Ultimately, the results of this research project will contribute to the sustainable long-term control of clubroot and improved resistance stewardship, helping producers manage and reduce clubroot spores contaminating their fields.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

This canola research project will result in better-characterized CR genes, an understanding of the function of various genes, potential labelling of CR genes in canola, improved resistance stewardship, the development of tightly linked molecular markers for marker-assisted selection (MAS), and an enhanced capacity for knowledge-based CR breeding.

This project will also provide opportunities for the training of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other highly qualified personnel that are needed to respond to new challenges and meet the requirements of the canola and agricultural sectors.

How will these research findings reach producers on farm?

Knowledge transfer of this canola research project will be done through this teams’ participation in scientific, industry and producer meetings to share and communicate research results within the broader context of sustainable disease management.

Project researchers will also share progress and final reports. Additionally, the team will share project outcomes via the publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and industry magazines and websites. From this project, there will be training of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, research associates, technicians and other highly qualified personnel to support the challenges of the canola industry.