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Techniques and breeding lines for the genetic improvement of hardy nursery stock - HH3709SHN

The project will use conventional and biotechnological methods to develop tools of genetic improvement and breeding lines for the nursery trade, and material for independently-funded assessment and trialling. Target characters include improved habit, foliage characteristics, flower colour and size and disease resistance. The UK Hardy Nursery Stock trade has a farm gate value of approximately £350 million and new cultivars of ornamental shrubs and trees are needed to maintain the competitiveness of the industry. We will capitalise on progress made in the current project HH1026SHN, and the previous project HH1012SHN. Following the success of our research in elder genetics (which, with HDC co-funding, have lead to ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Black Lace’) we will also undertake genetic studies in buddleia, jasmine and sorbus that will allow breeding programmes to be planned with greater precision. In co-operation with the industry, we will raise and screen rose progenies to identify novel sources of resistance to blackspot and, perhaps, aphids, and transfer selections to commercial breeders for them to develop varieties needing fewer sprays. We will demonstrate that tetraploidy restores fertility in various interspecific hybrids, by raising progenies from tetraploids of lilac, buddleia and a red-leaved columnar apple/pear hybrid. We will extend our success with in vitro chromosome doubling to some genera of climbing plants to see if vigour can be usefully reduced. We will improve methods for the transformation of buddleia, developing ‘clean gene’ approaches. The plant material from the programme will be passed on to the industry for use as parents or for selection, trialling and commercialisation. Information and protocols of use to the industry will be published in the scientific press and communicated directly to the industry at meetings and via articles in the trade press. The contractors have the necessary expertise in pathology, propagation, breeding, genetics, micropropagation and transformation to conduct this project effectively and have well equipped facilities. This work is fully consistent with DEFRA’s ROAME A for sustainable horticulture which specifically indicates support for work on breeding for resistance and quality using conventional and genome-based techniques in ornamentals.

1. Clarify genetics of horticulturally important characters in Sambucus, Buddleia, Sorbus and Jasminum to inform breeding programmes.
2. Identify sources of resistance to blackspot, and perhaps aphids, in Rosa, and transfer breeding lines to a commercial breeding programme, with a view to subsequently developing a LINK research programme.
3. Demonstrate that tetraploidy has restored fertility to interspecific hybrids of Syringa and Pyrus x Malus and check for self compatibility and mode of inheritance, and complete backcrossing programme of tetraploid Buddleia globosa to B. davidii to introgress yellow flower colour.
4. Determine if tetraploidy in the climbers Clematis and honeysuckle (Lonicera), and shrubs such as Physocarpus induces more compact habit, useful for small gardens.
5. Develop transformation methods for hardy ornamentals, assessing the xylose isomerase and MAT vector systems in Buddleia davidii, and establishing regeneration methods for two additional subjects, for use in subsequent transformation experiments and technology transfer to the industry.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Techniques and breeding lines for the genetic improvement of hardy nursery stock   (273k)
• Final Report - Annex : Techniques and breeding lines for the genetic improvement of hardy nursery stock: appendix   (1742k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2008

Cost: £470,583
Contractor / Funded Organisations
East Malling Research, Horticulture Research International
Allocated - EMR              
Hardy Nursery Stock              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Fields of Study