Start Date: Apr 25, 2008
End Date: Apr 24, 2013
Traditional sugarbeet population improvement approaches will be deployed for open pollinated, self-incompatible germplasm for release to industry. Production of improved populations will follow from mother root selection under field, greenhouse, or laboratory conditions of one or more germplasm sources, followed by random inter-mating, and harvest of seed from either individual plants, genetically related individuals, or as an entire population. Selfed families will be created from self-fertile materials generated to dissect the genetic control of high priority disease resistances. A program of phenotypic selection is followed by selecting mother roots from field nurseries, selfing these hybrids in the greenhouse, and applying molecular markers. Molecular markers will be developed from sugar beet nucleotide sequences, located to one of the nine beet chromosomes, and compared with segregation of disease and agronomic traits to identify genetic control. Mapped molecular markers will also be used to integrate sugar beet Bacterial Artificial Clones on the genetic linkage map for eventual isolation of specific genes that control agronomic and disease traits. Transcript profiling will be employed for gene discovery, however these tools are new for germplasm enhancement and their use has not been well explored. Examining transcript of profiles during sugar beet development, and during abiotic and biotic stress will allow deduction of important physiological and biochemical clues to the plant responses to stress and development that can be used towards more rigorous application in germplasm enhancement. The prevalence of different sugar beet pathogens in the Michigan agro-ecosystem will be ascertained, and used to develop high priority targets for transcript profiling. Differential disease reaction to Fusarium oxysporum, for instance, as an example of a newly discovered pathogen for Michigan, will form the basis for transcript profiling experiments that will better characterize the disease infection process and assist in identifying targets of opportunity for breeding intervention. Populations and their progeny showing good agronomic and disease performance will be folded into the general agronomic and disease nursery evaluations, and released to industry as enhanced germplasm.