Breeding for MH-independent onion cultivars - models and markers for sprouting stability in onion.

Projecttitel: Breeding for MH-independent onion cultivars - 
models and markers for sprouting stability in onion.
Projectnummer: LWV19072
Missie: Sleuteltechnologieën
MMIP: ST2 - Biotechnologie en veredeling
Looptijd: 2020 – 2023
Projectleiders: Olga Scholten, Richard Immink & Chrisitian Bachem

Onion is an important crop that is grown and consumed all over the world. 
In north-western Europe, where high-quality long-day onions are grown, onions have a high storability making them available year-round and making them an ideal product for export all over the world. 
To increase the storability of onions, plants are currently treated with a chemical agent called MH (maleic hydrazide), to prevent the sprouting of bulbs during storage. 
The Dutch government intends to reduce the application of this chemical compound, if possible, cease treatment by 2030. 
That means that other solutions are required to improve the storability of onion bulbs. Designing selection tools for breeding onion bulbs with longer dormancy during storage is therefore a high priority. 
For onion, candidate genes have been identified that are involved in bulbing and flowering, but their functions remain unclear. 
For dormancy and sprouting such genes have not been described. 
Overall, this project aims to firstly, generate a catalogue of all onion PEBP coding genes and classify them into the different clades. 
Secondly, we will assess the genetic diversity of this important set of regulators, providing potential markers for allelic variants. 
Thirdly, we will correlate the presence of individual allelic variants with known phenotypic variation of traits targeted at dormancy regulation and flowering transition in onion.
 
We expect to be able to deliver a comprehensive set of dormancy and sprouting related markers, in onion that can be validated in the field and potentially be used in future breeding programs.