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Narcissus varietal improvement (Warwick-HRI breeding programme) - HH3729SBU

The purpose of the proposed work is to develop the underpinning technology and genetic resources necessary for Narcissus crop improvement. The project has 4 objectives:

· To develop and maintain tissue culture capabilities
· To develop underpinning genetic resources for Narcissus crop improvement
· To develop the knowledge and tools required for production of basal/neck rot resistant cultivars
· To effectively transfer the technology developed to the UK Narcissus industry

Narcissus production is an important industry in rural areas of the UK. A world lead has been established at Warwick HRI during the Defra funded project HH1033SBU with the successful development of AFLP methodology for Narcissus and the initiation of ‘RITA’ temporary immersion bioreactor systems for mass propagation. Tissue culture capabilities will be enhanced through optimisation of ‘RITA’ bioreactor production of Narcissus. A successful bioreactor protocol will considerably reduce the current 25-30 year period required to commercialise a new cultivar (cv.) and could be adapted for other bulbous species. AFLPs will be used to confirm clonal fidelity of bioreactor produced plants. Chromosome doubling techniques will also be developed for Narcissus. This procedure will produce tetraploids from useful diploid species enabling them to be used in breeding programs to introduce useful traits, such as basal/neck rot resistance, into commercial tetraploid cultivars (cvs). As part of the development of underpinning genetic resources, we will produce a defined diploid population from two parental diploid Narcissus species, one basal/neck rot resistant and the other basal/neck rot susceptible which were identified during the MAFF project L203. We will exploit the AFLP methodology developed in HH1033SBU and fungal resistance pot tests developed in HH1024SBU to evaluate the defined diploid population to identify molecular markers for basal/neck rot resistance. Basal/neck rot is the worst disease problem faced by the UK Narcissus industry; marker assisted breeding of cvs resistant to basal/neck rot would save the industry enormous amounts of time and money. Another component of the underpinning genetic resources will be a core collection of about 100 cvs and species representing the diversity necessary for future improvement of Narcissus. The core collection will be selected from the collection of about 450 genotypes currently maintained at Warwick HRI’s Kirton site. Selection will be by pedigree information and morphological data and will be informed by the UK Narcissus industry. The core collection will be made available to the UK Narcissus industry for breeding work. Selected double diploids will be added to the core collection.

The research addresses Defra policy and scientific objectives as described in ROAME As HH32, and HH37; specifically:

“to provide robust strategies and methods of disease control suitable for integrated crop and farm management in line with the Government’s policy for pesticide minimisation.” (HH32).“to develop new varieties of fruit, vegetables and ornamental crops with improved resistance/tolerance to diseases” (HH32).“to facilitate a sustainable horticulture industry…” (HH37).“to develop new varieties of … ornamentals with improved quality such as … appearance, … and uniformity (HH37).

The proposal also addresses Defra’s objectives 1, 2 and 7 as written in the Defra prospectus, ‘Working for the essentials of life’. Specifically reduction of agrochemical input, through the development of technology for production of basal/neck rot resistant Narcissus, addresses ‘...improve the rural…environment and conserve and enhance biodiversity’ and ‘…protect the public’s interest in relation to environmental impacts and health…’. Developing technology, for more rapid Narcissus cv. development and valuable basal/neck rot resistant cvs, addresses ‘…promoting sustainable rural areas with a dynamic…economy’
The project has four objectives:

01. To develop tissue culture techniques for the rapid multiplication of Narcissus cvs and for doubling chromosome number.

02. To develop a ‘core’ collection of Narcissus cvs and an experimental diploid population for use in genetic analysis.

03. To develop the knowledge and tools for production of basal/neck rot resistant cultivars.

04. To effectively transfer the technology developed to the UK Narcissus industry.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2010

Cost: £526,440
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI
Allocated - WHRI              
Crop Improvement              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study