Main research question/goal
Can we increase the natural defence mechanism in vegetatively propagated horticultural crops by polyploidization (doubling the chromomes in a plant)? Do chromosome doubled plants have better resistance to biotic and abiotic stress? Is this approach useful in plant production systems? To test these hypotheses apple and rose are used as model crops. The most important phytopathogens (biotic) in these crops are apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) for apple and powdery mildew (Podosphaera pannosa) for rose. Mild drought stress (abiotic) is an important production limit.Research approach
Selected and very well characterized diploid genotypes of both crops are mitotically chromosome doubled and subsequently evaluated. For biotic stress resistance evaluation, enough knowledge is already available to start immediately. But for drought resistance screening, new screening methods need to be evaluated first. The impact of chromosome doubling on stress resistance is measured in terms of plant morphology, physiology and on the biochemical and molecular-genetic level. This multi-disciplinary approach results in a better understanding of stress mechanisms.Relevance/Valorisation
This project is targeted for the apple and rose producers. Studied stress factors are identified for both crops in function of the needs of the sector. Research results lead to the development of new durable cultivars via further breeding and selection work, which have an added value for the whole sector. For apple it is possible that mitotic chromosome doubled plants of existing varieties can be used immediately in variety trials. Ployploids can have other advantages as well. Especially in apple this is a rather new approach. If the above mentioned hypotheses are correct, this would result in new breeding techniques and strategies that can be used by breeding companies.
IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen
KULeuven - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen
Ugent - Fac. Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen