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Sclerotinia Initiative - Genetics
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Lentil is an essential rotational crop in the Pacific Northwest and northern Plains states where it is grown in predominantly cereal based cropping systems. Lentil crops provide needed revenues to the farmers, but also serve other important soil management and conservation purposes such as nitrogen fixation, breaking disease and weed cycles of cereal crops and limiting soil erosion thereby improving productivity of the entire cropping system. Sclerotinia white mold of lentil, caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, limits productivity and affects crop quality particularly in the northern tier states but is also a serious problem in the Palouse region. With increasing applications of the new technology of direct seeding of winter lentils into cereal stubble and increased exposure to cold and wet spring weather, white mold incidence is expected to increase. The white mold pathogen affects about 148 plant genera including many economically important crops, such as soybean, dry bean, sunflower, canola, peas, chickpeas and lentils. Genetic resistance to white mold has been reported in a number of crops and current research indicates a degree of resistance is present in lentil germplasm accessions. Information on the genetics of white mold resistance in lentil is needed to formulate an effective breeding program. Our goals in this project are to determine the genetics of resistance/tolerance to Sclerotinia white mold in lentil, map the genes involved and determine the feasibility of using genetic markers to accelerate breeding of white mold resistant cultivars. To accomplish these goals we propose to develop genetically defined populations of lentil that will segregate concurrently for resistance/tolerance to sclerotinia white mold and molecular markers. The genetic populations will be phenotyped for reaction to infection by the pathogen and polymorphic molecular markers. The phenotypic and molecular marker data will be used to generate a genetic linkage map for use in a quantitative trait loci analysis for white mold resistance. With this information we will determine the genetics of resistance and the linkage map positions of the resistance genes. Based on the anticipated findings, we will be able to determine the optimum approach to breeding of resistant/tolerant cultivars for release to the industry.