Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Searching for traits of resistance to crop diseases and pests in plant genetic resources
Dag Endresen

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rydbergsalen
Date: 2014-10-28 09:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-04


The agricultural food crops we depend upon for our livelihood are exposed to evolving plant diseases, pests and environmental climate change. Plant breeding programs require access to novel genetic diversity to maintain and improve the food crops to keep pace with these changes. The genetic diversity available in the breeders material has already been intensively explored and we need to start looking into traditional landraces (farmers varieties) and crop wild relatives as new sources of genetic materials. However, field experiments to gather trait evaluation data are expensive, and many of these less explored plant genetic resources lack availability to such information. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) has contributed to mobilize primary biodiversity information, including georeferenced plant genetic resources of landraces and crop wild relatives.

Focused identification of germplasm strategy (FIGS) proposes a new approach to target the evaluation of key germplasm accessions most likely to hold the genetic diversity required by plant breeding programs. This predictive characterization approach is based on the hypotheses that this key germplasm is likely to reflect the selection pressures of the environment from which it was originally sampled. Statistical techniques are applied to build predictive models between responses to biotic stresses such as fungal crop diseases and the environmental conditions of the collecting sites where the sampled germplasm of traditional agricultural landraces and crop wild relatives originally evolved. The prediction models are then used to identify genebank accessions and crop wild populations with potentially useful alleles. This provides a computer assisted pre-screening tool to select material for field trials and subsequent molecular allele mining to identify novel alleles for plant breeding programs.