Researchers target soybean disease with genetic resistance study
Through the trials, the researchers have been successful at confirming a gene that would be a “good candidate” for breeders to use in improving resistance to SDS. The gene (mapped to chromosome 17) was grown and observed in trials both in Urbana and Michigan in 2012 and 2013.
“We have seen success with this gene across genetic backgrounds,” Brzostowski said. “The differences in what we’re seeing aren’t huge, but looking at them statistically, it’s significant.”
If this gene continues to show success across multiple environments, the researchers will start incorporating it into breeding material. “The hope is that maybe we can find multiple genes that could be stacked together,” Brzostowski said. “The thing about SDS resistance is that it’s not just one gene, it’s many genes that have a small effect. We want to identify as many genes as we can to have more options for resistance and then put them together to give the growers the best resistance possible.
“Now even the most resistant commercial variety will show SDS symptoms if the conditions are right. A resistant line is going to do better than a susceptible line, though, because SDS can really do a number on a susceptible line,” she added.
Brzostowski explained that SDS is one of the top five causes of yield loss, disease-wise, in soybean. If a crop is infected with the disease, the researcher said yield losses could be anywhere from 5 percent up to 80 or 90 percent, with typical losses of 15 to 20 percent.
Early symptoms of the disease tend to show up just after the flowering stage as scattered spots appear on the leaves of the plant, giving a mottled look.
The 58th annual Agronomy Day will take place on U of I’s Urbana-Champaign campus. Agronomy Day attracts nearly 1,000 people each year seeking the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. For more information on speakers and displays, “like” University of Illinois Agronomy Day on Facebook, or visit the Agronomy Day website at www.agronomyday.cropsci.illinois.edu.
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