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Building bridges to success – accessing Brassica diploid variation for Canola improvement

Agronomy Research 
Start Date
End Date
Principal Investigator
Dr. Steve Robinson - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Saskatoon
Dr. Hossein Borhan - AAFC Saskatoon and Dr. Axel Diederichsen - AAFC Saskatoon
MCGA Funding
Total Project Funding
External Funding Partners
Alberta Canola Producers Commission and SaskCanola
Project Ongoing...

Research Objective

  • Domesticate identified A- genome and C-genome variation including C-genome variation with new Blackleg resistance by introducing identified B. napus alleles
  • Generate synthetic B. napus germplasm using the domesticated A and C diploid germplasm
  • Confirm the successful introgression of blackleg resistance into B. napus using disease assays
  • Use genome engineering to reduce the impact of key pathways that maintain the genetic block preventing interspecific hybridization

Project Description

The security and future success of the canola crop is dependent on adapting varieties to meet both present and future production challenges. Timely solutions addressing these challenges need to be made to ensure the continued delivery of the high yields that support the Canadian agricultural economy. Acute challenges can manifest with an urgent need to rapidly introduce new disease resistance alleles. Conversely, chronic challenges require constant germplasm improvement to better adapt the canola crop to the prairie environment. Moreover, these adaptive goals are shifting due to the effects of the changing climate and the information derived from climate modeling highlights both the severity and urgency of the challenge.

The most effective way to meet these challenges is to identify and deploy the available variation from plant populations that have already developed solutions through their evolutionary history. However, efficient access to alleles in crop relatives is often challenging in polyploidy crop species where the major reserve of valuable alleles often exists in diploid relatives, where reproductive incompatibility is a major impediment. This project will utilize recent scientific advancements in order to develop specific germplasm accessible through the creation of bridging lines. These will enable access to valuable alleles ultimately delivering a new technology that will be available to canola breeders.

The development of domesticated diploid bridging species represents a new technology for the canola industry. Their combination with targeted diploid germplasm using a conventional crossing and marker-assisted selection approach will increase the efficiency with which alleles can be introduced into B. napus and their potential evaluated.