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Breakthrough in Breeding Clubroot-Resistant Rapeseed

Clubroot is notoriously known as “the killer” of rapeseed. To grapple with the impacts brought about by the disease, the team led by Prof. Fu Tingdong, Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), from the College of Plant Sciences & Technology in HZAU, developed two disease-resistance varieties—“Huashuang 5R” and “Huayouza 62R” through years of trial and error. The comparative study they worked on showed that the morbidity of “Huashuang 5R” and “Huayouza 62R” were 0% and 1.2% respectively, while the average morbidity of the reference substance exceeded 90%.

Feb. 17-18, the panel joined by Zhang Qifa from CAS and Guan Chunyun, Song Bao’an, Chen Jianping, Deng Xiuxin from Chinese Academy of Engineering carried out field test that revealed the research had reached domestic leading level in clubroot-resistance variety breeding. Two groundbreaking clubroot-resistant varieties bred by HZAU boast application value owing to the immunity against Physiology Race NO.4 of clubroot, which is significant to national rapeseed production security and provides precious resources for clubroot-resistant rapeseed breeding.

The team member Prof. Zhang Chunyu introduced that clubroot disease is a highly infectious soil-borne disease threatening the Cruciferae family. For example, brassica species, once infected by the pathogenic bacteria that can survive more than 15 years in soil, will see their seedlings wither to death, thus taking a heavy toll on the output. No effective preventive measures were taken in our country until recent years that witnessed a rapid spread of the disease. The statistics available showed that Sichuan province bore the brunt of the misfortune, over 3 million mu (200 hectares) farmland hit by clubroot disease. In addition, the disease emboldened by the sophisticated mechanization is marching on to plague other provinces. At present, owing to impotent measures and clubroot-resistant varieties unavailable, the rapeseed-producing regions in our country is faced with a menace of catastrophic proportions. If not dealt with immediately, the disease would deal a deadly blow to the rapeseed industry and the safety of oil plant and grain production.

Cooperating with Shenyang Agriculture University Since 2010, the team led by academician Fu finally took the initiative to breed clubroot-resistant varieties. They transferred disease-resistant gene from germplasm-elite plants including turnip and cabbage into conventional superior rapeseed variety or superior hybrid parents through distant hybridization. Tested by plant experiment in infected areas such as Sichuan Province, Anhui Province, and several cities in Hubei Province, the new rapeseed varieties are immune to clubroot disease, which was seen as a remarkable step forward in our full-scale fight against further spreading of clubroot disease.

(By Xiong Ying)