Main research question/goal
What is the added value offered by wild European rose species for breeding for disease resistance or applications in landscaping? Can we, specifically regarding resistance to fungal diseases, develop efficient screening techniques for roses? Which are the hybridization barriers when we want to combine wild and cultivated roses? The GeneRose project has the objective to maintain genetic sources of roses in a sustainable way and safeguard them through a systematic study of their possible role in breeding programs.
We map the biodiversity within and between populations of wild roses. For indigenous species we try to establish their autochthonous nature and we reconstruct the genetic relationships between the various European species. We develop a rose-specific bioassay to detect diseases and plant resistance: black spot, powdery mildew, rust and downy mildew. We check (with the bio-assays) the degree of resistance of the different kinds of roses against the said fungi and point them out as potential new sources of disease resistance. We develop molecular markers linked to disease resistance. We develop cross-breeding strategies to overcome the crossing barriers between species with different ploidy level. We evaluate, in collaboration with rose breeders and growers, the potential uses of the wild rose species in landscaping.
Apart from the decorative value of possible new introductions of native roses, we concluded that this project has strongly enabled a rose production with a lower environmental impact, as new disease resistant varieties require drastically less spraying treatments. The project has generated a win-win situation in an original and efficient manner: 1. the breeding research benefited in terms of disease resistance by revealing new sources of disease resistance; 2. the biodiversity of the European Wild Roses population can be better conserved by biotechnological know-how (DNA markers for biodiversity research and map the location of disease resistance, flow cytometry for pollen sorting); 3. the commercial value of crossings is guaranteed by the close involvement of practitioners.
European Union - FP5