NIAB EMR, in a joint UK–China research programme, has discovered several strains of the strawberry disease Verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae), belonging to two different groups, that act in very different ways. The results are already being used by plant breeders in the development of a new generation of wilt resistant varieties.
UK horticultural crop research organisation NIAB EMR has appointed Dr Andrew Simkin to lead its emerging fruit quality and development research programme.
Dr Simkin will be expanding NIAB EMR’s capabilities in fruit quality research in perennial and annual horticultural crops, tackling the challenge of improving the flavour and health benefits associated with fruit consumption. He will be joining NIAB EMR’s increasingly successful Genetics, Genomics and Breeding (GGB) Team, responsible for Malling Centenary, one of the most sought after strawberry varieties currently in the marketplace, as well as world-leading perennial genomics expertise, such as the BBSRC and industry-funded international consortium sequencing the octoploid strawberry.
Unifying the approaches to plant and animal breeding through the use of genomic selection is crucial to achieving global food security, according to a team of world leading scientists.
In a paper published this week in the international journal Nature Genetics, scientists from NIAB, the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) assert that global collaboration and investment across the two disciplines is central to increasing agricultural productivity and resilience.
Researchers have sequenced the genome of the whitefly (Bemisia tabici), an invasive insect responsible for spreading plant viruses worldwide, causing billions of dollars in crop losses each year.
The genome study, led by Associate Professor Zhangjun Fei of the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI; USA), offers many clues to the insect’s remarkable ability to resist pesticides, transmit more than 300 plant viruses, and to feed on at least 1,000 different plant species. Published in the journal BMC Biology, the study will serve as a foundation for future work to combat this global pest.
Scientists have developed a new improved method for capturing longer DNA fragments, doubling the size up to 7000 DNA bases that can be analysed for novel genes which provide plants with immunity to disease.