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The Defra Oilseed Rape Genetic Improvement Network - OREGIN - AR0703

The UK government is committed to the sustainable development of agriculture. Oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is the most profitable UK arable crop and the cropping area is currently undergoing an increase. Genetic improvement of oilseed rape is a viable means to reduce the current reliance on high-input agriculture currently required to achieve the yields that growers require for the crop to to remain profitable. This project will provide the management and core research of the Defra Oilseed Rape Genetic Improvement Centre (OREGIN) and will co-ordinate public and private sector research to achieve the aims of Defra relating to the reduction of inputs that consume non-renewable resources (particularly fossil carbon), can lead to diffuse pollution and may have adverse impact on biodiversity.The core research activities of OREGIN will be focused within six main workpackages. Workpackage 1: The construction of a Diversity Fixed Foundation Set (DFFS) for B. napus to represent the majority of allelic variation within the gene-pool. There is currently no co-ordinated B. napus germplasm collection in the UK hence the construction of the DFFS will be necessary to ensure that valuable genetic resources are not lost and that genetic information relating to potentially useful agronomic traits can be obtained reliably through the use of publicly available homozygous lines.Workpackage 2: The location, value and characteristics of relevant reference genetic mapping populations currently available in the public domain will be determined. Such populations are expensive to generate. Most populations currently in the public domain originate from “winter” x “spring” crosses. These mapping populations will enable QTL or Mendelian loci in that material to be identified, provided relevant allelic variation is represented in the parental material. Analysis of the parents of these populations will identify whether they possess potentially useful traits to justify the allocation of resources to a trait mapping exercise.Workpackage 3: Methods utilising molecular markers such as micro-satellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and resistance gene analogues (RGAs) will be used to assess the extent of genetic diversity contained within accessions and individuals that comprise the foundation set. In addition, we expect to establish 'graphical genotypes' for the foundation set. 'Graphical genotypes' display DNA marker data to create a graphical image for the genomic constitution of an individual, and will be based on marker assays (e.g. micro-satellites) for a skeleton set of loci distributed around the 19 B. napus chromosomes. They will provide a clear overview of the (estimated) genetic descent as a mosaic of inherited chromosomal regions. In addition, sequence diversity in a gene class under direct breeding selection will be used as a proof-of-concept assessment to demonstrate relevance to screening for specific crop sustainability traits.Workpackage 4: To enable the reliable genetic analysis of complex disease resistance traits in B. napus a core collection of isolates of Pyrenopeziza brassicae and Leptosphaeria maculans (the two major fungal pathogens causing economic losses in oilseed rape crops) will be established. The genetic diversity within the pathogen collection will be analysed to ensure that a collection is assembled that represents the majority of the pathogen diversity. This will enable reliable genetic analysis of specific pathogen-host interactions in combination with the DFFS. Framework standard operating procedures will be established so that they can be applied to other oilseed rape pathogens in future projects within OREGIN.Workpackage 5: OREGIN aims to develop reliable, reproducible methodologies for the genetic assessment of key traits. Thus a framework for development of robust methodologies will be established, with emphasis on the identification of experimentally identifiable components of complex traits. The core research in this area will initially focus on developing methodologies for reliable analysis of the genetic basis of resistance to the two major fungal pathogens of oilseed rape (P. brassicae and L. maculans). Detailed methodologies (field, glasshouse and laboratory) to enable analysis of phenotypic variation and its inheritance within the foundation set will be developed, ensuring that the methods enable maximum information to be obtained about possible resistance mechanisms and the host growth stage at which resistance is expressed.Workpackage 6: This workpackage concerns delivery and communication. OREGIN will deliver genetic resources, data and information to the oilseed rape research community and to end-users through a website set up as a portal for the OREGIN network and initially focusing on the core resources accumulated and collated within this core project. In order to provide the OREGIN network with high quality resources and data, well structured databases, data management policies and high standards of data curation will be implemented. In particular, the work on database curation will entail ensuring that data associated with OREGIN are well-annotated and traceable. Following agreement of standards for describing plant resources, genetic mapping populations, probe and map nomenclature, trait descriptors and estimates of diversity, information will be published initially on the website, under the OREGIN banner. As the basis for regular dialogue and exchange, a stake-holder forum, will be established, comprising breeders, sponsors, scientists and “end-users” representing the substantial majority of UK’s expertise relating to oilseed rape genetics and breeding. Information relating to the key issues of interest to stakeholders, including Defra, will be collated in understandable form and distributed to all stakeholders.
01. To secure the relevant plant genetic diversity resources and make them available to the OSR R&D and stakeholder community as a Diversity Fixed Foundation Set (DFFS)
02. To secure reference OSR mapping populations and make them accessible to the OSR R&D community for genetic analysis
03. To characterise the molecular allelic variation within the DFFS and make the information available to the OSR R&D community
04. To establish a defined isolate collection of key OSR pathogens which is secured and accessible to all stakeholders
05. To develop a standardised approach for developing robust assays for genetic analysis
06. To ensure that the OSR stakeholder community has access to underpinning information and resources to facilitate targeted research and development programmes to fulfill funders` policy objectives
Project Documents
• Final Report : AR0703   (829k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2007

Cost: £896,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC), Warwick - HRI, Horticulture Research International
Allocated - WHRI              
Arable Farming              
Crop Improvement              
Natural Resource Use              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops