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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research » Research » Research Project #430921

Research Project: Screening Wild Populations of Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima, an Important Genetic Resource for Enhancing Beet Production in the United States

Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research

Project Number: 3012-21220-010-03-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2016
End Date: Jun 30, 2021

Increase collaboration with the University of Padova in developing a program to better characterize the genetic diversity of sea beet and discover novel sources of disease resistance in wild populations of sea beet, which is the most important genetic resource for enhancing beet production. Sea beet grows wild along the Adriatic Coast and has been studied by the University of Padova for over 100 years. We will 1) identify populations to screen for disease resistance, 2) use markers to locate novel sources of disease resistance, 3) discover the genetic and genomic basis for these traits, and 4) incorporate them into publically available sugar beet germplasm.

The USDA-ARS NPGS has an extensive collection of sea beet (Beta vulgaris subspecies maritima) but not from the Adriatic coast of Italy. Collaborative efforts with a world expert in the life history of sea beet (Beta vulgaris subspecies maritima) and world-class molecular biologist have been initiated. We would work together to identify areas where NPGS collectors have collected sea beet germplasm, areas where the Italian researchers have collected sea beet germplasm, and jointly screen for disease resistance to important sugar beet diseases. SNP markers associated with the disease resistance characteristics would be identified. Using molecular marker assisted selection these traits in sea beet would introgressed into cultivated sugar beet using traditional hybridization techniques. Germplasm with enhanced disease resistance, containing novel sources of resistance, and linked molecular markers will be developed and released to commercial breeders.