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Resistance and Durability• RD Team

Bandeau accueilo RD

Context and stakes

In order to address the urgent need of pesticides reduction in agriculture, plant genetic resistance is an essential lever for crop protection against diseases and pests. The development of durable resistant varieties to multiple diseases and pests is therefore a major challenge for a productive, healthy and sustainable low-input agriculture. Diversifying resistance sources and exploiting quantitative resistance are major research strategies for developing durable resistances.

Potato, which is the fourth crop in the world, faces a great number of pathogens, including late blight disease which is controlled by a high level of fungicides (mean fungicide TFI of 10 in 2017), and cyst nematodes which are more and more difficult to manage with the withdrawal of the most effective nematicides.

Grain legumes, with their nitrogen-fixing ability and protein-rich seeds, are of major interest in agroecological cropping systems. Aphanomyces root rot has been a major concern of pulse growers for >20 years in absence of efficient control methods. Pests have become more damaging due to the reduced use of pesticides.

Objectives 

The general objective of the team is to identify, compare and combine genetic and molecular determinants of quantitative resistance to multiple pests, and identify strategies for their integration with other control methods for their sustainable management. The team is developing research activities on economically important diseases and/or pests of the annual crops of grain legumes and potato.
The team develop research in three interconnected axes, from the gene, through the plant to the plot.

  • Axis 1. Genetics and mechanisms of plant responses to diseases and pests
    The work developed aims to (i) identify genes, defense pathways, chemical signals associated with resistance QTL, (ii) study the conservation of quantitative resistance genes and mechanisms between species and (iii) identify regions of the genome, genes and mechanisms controlling resistance to multiple pests.
  • Axis 2. Diversity and combination of plant resistance loci to multiple diseases and pests
    The work developed aims to (i) identify effective sources of resistance against virulent pathogen populations, (ii) identify the action modes and spectra of resistance QTL on pathogen cycles and populations, and combine them to create durable resistance and (iii) develop new schemes and genomic prediction models for the breeding of quantitative resistance.
  • Axis 3. Integration of genetic resistance to other plant protection levers
    The work developed aims to assess the durability of quantitative resistance (i) in cropping systems diversified in hosts and (ii) in combination with other control methods (prophylaxis, cultural practices, biocontrol).

Competences and expertise

The team brings together a group of about 25 people, with skills in quantitative genetics, plant breeding, biotechnology, molecular biology, microbiology, plant production and experimentation, disease resistance tests in controlled and field conditions. It hosts the potato genetic resources from the BrACySol BRC and pea genetic resources for diseases and pest studies. The team has national and international recognized expertise on genetics and pre-breeding for resistance to diseases in potato and grain legumes. Its expertise is mobilized in the Potato and Pulse sections of the French varietal registration authorities (CTPS).