Seed World

NRGene Maps Clubroot Resistance Traits

NRGene Canada announced that it has reached a milestone in the development of new canola lines harbouring high resistance against the devastating clubroot fungal disease.

NRGene says it has successfully mapped the unique genomic locations of a previously-identified novel high-resistance trait for clubroot disease in canola. DNA markers were also developed by the company to facilitate efficient trait integration into elite canola seeds. By growing resistant seeds, farmers can reduce yield loss by up to 90% in infected areas, the company said. This translates into potential savings of billions of dollars.

In addition, the company has developed DNA markers to enable the identification of clubroot resistance plants using simple PCR tests. NRGene’s Canola-SNPro genotyping kit, developed in 2021, allowed the DNA markers to be developed in just a few weeks. Since then, leading seed developers have used the kit for trait mapping and the development of new canola varieties. Canola seed producers can thus utilize the identified DNA markers to develop and commercialize novel disease-resistant canola seeds in a rapid and cost-efficient manner and provide farmers with an efficient and sustainable solution.

A provisional patent was recently filed by NRGene Canada to protect these high-resistance traits.

Canola is one of Canada’s most valuable crops, contributing over CAD$29.9 billion annually towards the Canadian economy. Unfortunately, clubroot has been expanding exponentially throughout the Prairies since 2003. To date, no chemical treatment is available to eliminate clubroot from the soil, leaving farmers with fewer and less desirable options in their rotation schedule. The disease affects the plant root structure and its ability to uptake nutrients, thus harming yield output. If left untreated, the significant decline in crop yields will severely impact global food security.

This development has created a new defense strategy for Canadian farmers against this disease.

“NRGene’s activity in the heart of the Canadian Prairies for over three years is already paying off with the development of a natural and efficient solution to overcome this most devastating disease in canola and save local farmers billions of dollars from yield loss,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene founder and CEO. “We look forward to partner with leading seed producers and supply farmers novel, disease-resistant seeds.”

With the support of the Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), NRGene Canada expects to complete the project by 2025. The company is presently seeking Canadian and global partners to ensure that varieties bearing these resistance genes are available to farmers and producers.