Biotech Updates

Scientists Develop Disease Resistant Pea Lines

November 27, 2013

Scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) have collaborated with fellow researchers from New Zealand and Europe to develop peas that are tolerant to Aphanomyces root rot. The said disease can cause yield losses of 20 to 100 percent in the legume crop.

As noted by Rebecca McGee, plant geneticist at USDA-ARS's Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research Unit, breeding peas for Aphanomyces resistance has been proven difficult because multiple genes are involved. Resistance genes are also associated with undesirable traits, which cultivated varieties can inherit when crossed with wild germplasm sources.

The said breeding lines are not intended for commercial production, but rather as a source of Aphanomyces tolerance for incorporation into elite pea varieties. Such varieties could benefit growers in Pacific Northwest and North Central states of the US where Aphanomyces outbreaks threaten the valued role that peas and other legumes play in cereal-based crop rotation systems.

See USDA-ARS's news release at