Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 5, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The genetics of agronomic traits in sugar beet are not well defined but a comprehensive understanding of these traits is crucial for effective breeding of improved cultivars in the 21st century. Although current breeding approaches have been successful in selecting for improved agronomic performance, difficulties often arise because of the different levels of expression of a trait in changing environments, requiring extensive repetition of field selections to assure a trait has been fixed in a breeding line. To improve selection efficiency it would be desirable to use a common set of technologies based on the presence or absence of genes that control expression of a particular trait. We have been constructing sugar beet breeding populations that differ in specific traits using DNA markers to tag specific regions of the sugar beet genome which contribute to an economically important trait. Current emphasis is on using randomly isolated expressed gene sequences as molecular markers, and assembling a collection of these into a genetic map. We have examined the genetic code (i.e. nucleotide sequence) for each of the expressed genes we use as molecular markers. Knowing the possible functions of a gene will allow an initial assessment about its role(s) in expression of agronomic traits. Merging and understanding of gene expression with trait and molecular marker inheritance is a powerful approach that will lead to an understanding of the underlying genetics of agronomic traits in sugarbeet.