Location: Soil Management and Sugarbeet Research
Project Number: 3012-21220-011-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Mar 26, 2023
End Date: Mar 25, 2028
Objective 1: Phenotype and genotype global germplasm resources for Beta vulgaris spp. maritima (Bvm), Beta corolliflora (Bcor), and Patellifolia procumbens (Ppro) to enable trait discovery of resistance to Rhizoctonia Crown and Root Rot (RCRR), Fusarium Yellows (FY), and Sugar Beet Cyst Nematode (SBCN). Sub-objective 1.A: Phenotypic evaluation of Beta vulgaris spp. maritima, Beta corolliflora, and Patellifolia procumbens accessions for resistance to Rhizoctonia Crown and Root Rot, Fusarium Yellows, and Sugar Beet Cyst Nematode. Sub-objective 1.B: Whole genome sequencing of Beta vulgaris spp. maritima, Beta corolliflora, and Patellifolia procumbens accession pools to catalog genome-wide diversity. Sub-objective 1.C: Develop and deploy BeetBase: a centralized, cloud-based germplasm, genomics and phenomics database for the Beta research community. Objective 2: Develop inbred lines homozygous for new resistance traits for genome assembly and annotation to drive functional genomics studies to understand the molecular mechanisms of each gene and unravel the plant-pathogen interaction at a systems biology level. Sub-objective 2.A: Develop and release genetic stocks of sugar beet and crop wild relatives harboring disease resistance traits of interest alongside genomic resources for gene discovery and functional characterization.
Sugar beets provide more than half the sucrose consumed in the United States and can be one of the most profitable crops in the regions where they are grown. Susceptibility to diseases remains a dominant concern to sugar beet production in the United States. While successful examples of breeding disease resistance exist, including those using ARS germplasm as the foundation for breeding resistance, current processes for breeding are relatively slow and can take well over a decade. We aim to combine state-of-the-art phenomic and genomic research, leveraging germplasm derived from the public plant repositories, to accelerate the breeding of disease resistance into sugar beets. Specifically, we will phenotype and genotype global germplasm resources for Beta vulgaris spp. maritima, Beta corolliflora and Patellifolia procumbens to enable trait discovery of resistance to Rhizoctonia Crown and Root Rot, Fusarium Yellows and Sugar Beet Cyst Nematode. While doing so, we will develop and deploy imaging pipelines to accelerate the rate of phenotypic screening of sugar beet germplasm resources. To host the genomic and phenomic data that we produce, we will develop both a repository and toolkit for the sugar beet community, BeetBase, housed within ARS’s publicly available platform. Upon completion of the planned research, we anticipate shortening the disease resistance trait discovery cycle to 3-4 years. Results from this program address the immediate needs of sugar beet growers who are facing the aforementioned disease pressures, seed companies who are striving to develop improved lines of sugar beet, the sugar beet and broader scientific community who will benefit from our collaboration, techniques and data platforms and the American consumer.