Counteracting Botrytis infection by interfering with plant susceptibility genes
Tomato is susceptible to necrotrophic fungi Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria solani. No major resistance genes against these fungi have been identified in wild tomato species; only quantitative resistance has been reported. To achieve resistance against these fungi tomato susceptibility genes required for colonization, growth and development of the fungi can be identified and mutated. Such resistance is expected to be broad spectrum and durable.
This project aims to achieve the following:
1. Identification of tomato S-genes for necrotrophic pathogens Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria solani by screening available tomato EMS population to select mutants with resistance to the two pathogens.
2. Mutation of candidate tomato S-genes using CRISPR techniques.
3. Characterization of EMS and CRISPR mutants for specificity of resistance and their potential use in breeding programs.
4. Elucidation of mode(s) of action of (earlier identified) S-genes.
The project fits perfectly within the innovation theme “More with less” of the Topsector Horticulture and Starting materials. Tomato is among the most important vegetable crops worldwide. The breeding industry puts large efforts into breeding tomatoes for resistance against a wide spectrum of pathogens, including the two microbial pathogens that are central to this project. Increasing disease resistance in a durable manner will lead to reduced usage of pesticides and thereby enhance food safety and food security. It is highly desirable to reduce the risk of growers being exposed to pesticide residues and the risk of residues entering the food chain.
The project builds on knowledge and materials developed in prior projects (funded by TTI Green Genetics and CBSG) carried out at WUR Plant Breeding and WU Phytopathology. We have built up excellent collaborations with seed companies, which provides a solid basis (proof-of-concept) for this project.
We expect to obtain the following results:
o Tomato mutants with resistance to the studied pathogens.
o S-genes for the studied pathogens.
o DNA markers for causal mutations in the identified S gene mutants.
o Knowledge on the mode(s) of action of (earlier identified) S-genes.