Resistance mechanisms against thrips in wild relatives of onion

Resistance mechanisms against thrips in wild relatives of onion


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Landbouw, Water, Voedsel>Sleuteltechnologieën LWV>Biotechnologie en Veredeling






The aim of the project is to contribute to the development of a more sustainable production by breeding for thrips resistance in onion. To reach this goal we will focus on the identification of novel sources of thrips resistance among crossable wild relatives of onion, and when identified, characterize this resistance with respect to its genetics and mechanisms. For these studies, both interspecific F1 hybrids of crosses between onion and crossable related species as well as intraspecific crosses between resistant and susceptible plant of the same species will be produced. Finally, materials will be released to breeding companies for use in their onion breeding programmes. Project partners are WUR Plant Breeding, Bejo Zaden, East West Seeds, Hazera, Nunhems Netherlands B.V. and Takii.

Doel van het project

The project will contribute to the development and application of biotechnology and/or breeding for crops, contributing to one or multiple missions. The project will make use of or develop genome technology and phenotyping. Thrips is a well-known onion pest that occurs worldwide. Thrips cause both direct and indirect damage to crops by sucking the content of leave cells. Damage is visible in the form of silver-gray spots on the leaves and results in a reduction of photosynthesis and yield. Thrips can also transmit plant pathogens. Pesticides are being used to control thrips but are not always very effective. More importantly, pesticides do not fit in a sustainable agricultural production system. In addition, the application of pesticides has resulted in development of thrips with resistance to these pesticides. An alternative to pesticide use is host plant resistance. However, for onion, there are no cultivars with high levels of thrips resistance and results obtained so far have shown that thrips resistance may be hard to find in cultivated materials.

Relatie met missie (Motivatie)

The project will contribute to the development and/or application of biotechnology and/or breeding for crops, contributing to one or multiple missions.
Contribution to ST2
• The project will contribute to the phenotyping and genotyping of thrips resistance in onion related Allium species. Genotyping of thrips populations from all over the world will provide insight in the variation that exists in in this species.
Contribution to MMIP A2
• On the long term the project will contribute to MMIP A2, as it supports the breeding of thrips resistant onions that will contribute to an environmentally sustainable and chemical-free agriculture and food production.

Geplande acties

• Knowledge on thrips resistance in crossable wild relatives of onion (2019-2021).
• Knowledge on variation among thrips populations from different regions around the world (2019-2021).
• Knowledge on genetics of thrips resistance, as well as products in terms of QTL mapping data and molecular markers for use in breeding programmes (2022-2023).
• Knowledge on mechanism of resistance (mode of action), including knowledge derived from datasets on gene expression (2023).
• Plant materials for further breeding (2023).
• Meetings with project partners, scientific papers and a PhD thesis.

Naam projectleider

Olga Scholten