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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Research Project #433341

Research Project: Refining Genomic Tools for Sclerotinia Resistance and Agronomic Breeding of Sunflower-towards Dissection of the Resistance Phenotype

Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Project Number: 3060-21000-043-18-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2018
End Date: Jul 31, 2023

Objective:
The goal of this project is to advance the study of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum resistance in sunflower using germplasm and genomic resources developed from previous projects. Objectives are: 1. Use the results from our updated GWAS model to infer candidate genes and develop hypotheses on necrotrophic disease resistance architecture. 2. Understand if and how sunflower genetics interact with rhizosphere microbial communities in Sclerotinia suppression.

Approach:
We will use the results of our updated genomewide association study (GWAS) model, validated by our genotyped and phenotyped breeding program of the last 9 years, to infer candidate genes and develop hypotheses on contrasting genetic architecture for Sclerotinia basal stalk rot, Sclerotinia head rot, and Phomopsis stalk canker. Resistance candidate gene lists will inform our next steps in going from quantitative trait loci to genes and better models of phenotype backed by physiology. As our first attempt at linking phenotype and genotype to physiology, our second objective is to understand if and how sunflower genetics interacts with rhizosphere microbial communities in suppression of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum infection. With our sequenced and thoroughly phenotyped GWAS population now also characterized for rhizosphere communities in soils with a long history of Sclerotinia resistance evaluations, we plan to use GWAS and greenhouse studies to better understand the role of the rhizosphere community in Sclerotinia basal stalk rot resistance. The plant genetic component of the tri-trophic interaction for particularly Sclerotinia-suppressive microbes will be mapped and compared to known resistance loci.