Crop Biotech Update

New Peas Resist Fungal Foe

August 15, 2008

Breeding for pea resistance to fungal disease Fusarium rot is an important breeding objective because of the tremendous damage caused by the fungus Fusarium solani in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains of the Americas. Fungicide and crop rotation strategies sometimes work but development of resistant peas is still the best strategy. The breeding work was started by United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service geneticist Fred Muehlbauer in 1994, crossing two germplasm lines – X94P2275 and 90-2131 – with “Dark Skin Perfection,” a canning/freezing variety. Years of breeding and selection produced three germplasm lines which when challenged with the pathogen exhibited a completely resistant response. The lines are now available for breeding new commercial cultivars that can withstand the fungal disease.

For details, see the press release at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2008/080808.htm