Contact: Dr Jane Thomas
In Disease Resistance, extensive screening programmes are aimed at identifying novel sources of resistance to address the twin challenges of reducing chemical input levels to meet environmental sustainability standards and climate change, which is being manifested not only in altered weather patterns, but rapid shifts in pathogen ranges and population structures. In wheat, the focus is on emerging and recalcitrant diseases - soil-borne cereal mosaic virus, Fusarium, take-all and ergot. Funded chiefly by LINK programmes and NIAB Trust, and in close collaboration with academic partners and breeders, promising sources of resistance are the currently the subject of efforts to identify molecular markers which can be used to select the associated resistances quickly and inexpensively into new cereal varieties. In faba bean, tremendous excitement has been generated by a new project which will has brought over 600 highly diverse landraces from ICARDA’s worldwide collection to the UK for field-based screening for useful traits, with the number one target being resistance to the bruchid beetle.