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Accelerating disease resistance breeding for black rust in perennial ryegrass

  • Funded by: The Seed Levy Foundation (Frøafgiftsfonden)

  • AU project manager: Professor Torben Asp, Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics

  • Collaboration partners:

    • Department of Agroecology, Aarhus Universitet
    • DLF Seeds A/S
  • Project period: 2022-2024

  • Funding in 2022: 2,000,000 DKK

  • Funding in 2023: 2,000,000 DKK

  • Funding in 2024: 1.482.000 DKK

Project summary:

The purpose of the project is to develop competencies and a strong Danish research infrastructure for pre-breeding of rust resistance in grasses, including supporting breeding and development of ryegrass varieties with improved resistance to black rust. The project has four goals linked to four work packages: Identification of isolates for phenotyping for resistance, new screening methods, new models for improvement value and identification of genes linked to resistance.

The project includes the following activities: 1) Investigation of genetic diversity, marker development and black rust resistance at species level in cultivated grasses. Establishment of a collection of isolates of different origins, development of molecular markers for characterization of these as well as study of host barriers within cultivated grasses. 2) Development of methods for phenotyping for sustainable resistance in ryegrass and the importance of climate change for disease development. Study of resistance specificity in ryegrass lines from DLF as well as the significance of temperature, growth stage and infection pressure for disease development. 3) Development of a new genetic algorithm to identify the best combination of crossbreeding parents for the development of new varieties, and 4) Identification of genes in ryegrass, which can be used for marker-assisted selection in order to develop new ryegrass varieties with improved stem rust resistance.