IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.
European Flag    Europa The European Commission Research Agriculture FAIR
index by sub-area Animal and plant health, animal welfare
index by country United Kingdom

Pathogen-resistant grain legumes using gene transfer methods

Contract nr: FAIR-CT96-1529
Project nr: 1529
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/03/1997
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 1,316,900 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,222,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Richard HARDWICK
Research topic: Plant health
Acronym: PRELEG

Fungal pathogens contribute to inefficiency in grain legume production both through direct damage to crops and by making the use of fungicides necessary. Transformation technology in legumes has advanced to the stage where applications can now be considered. The EU needs to reduce an unacceptable risk: its reliance on imported protein (the protein self-sufficiency rate is about 36%). This reduction is best achieved by making grain legume production more efficient and competitive.

It is proposed to build new pathogen resistance into the major European grain legumes and to test its effectiveness in biomolecular, glasshouse and field tests. Genes for three types of potentially useful anti-fungal plant-derived proteins will be introduced into the major European grain legumes. These three types of genes are: the gene for the phytoalexin-synthesising enzyme stilbene synthase; the gene for an inhibitor of an important cell wall degrading enzyme of fungal pathogens, polygalacturonase inhibiting protein (PGIP); and a combination of the genes for osmotin and endo-chitinase. Additional genes are available to the participants and will be used if the progress of the work allows.

These genes will be driven by suitable promoters and transformants will be screened for stable integration and suitable levels of expression. The efficiency of transformation methods will be compared and the best one will be selected to permit the generation of sufficient transformants to be screened for expression levels. Studies will be carried out on the effect of the expression of these transgenes on major pathogens in peas, faba beans, chickpeas and lupins. These pathogens will include the Botrytis species in all four grain legume crops, and the species of the Ascochyta complex and the foot and root rot complex in the first three crops. The effects of transgene expression will be studied at three levels. Fungal growth in infected tissues will be quantified rapidly using ELISA; whole plant tests in containment will be performed by commercial breeders; and field trials will be made by a consortium of breeders to test effectiveness against selected pea pathogens in a field experiment.

Current situation/results:
Alternative transformation methods have been compared for pea, faba bean and chickpea. The most promising protocols have been studied and optimised for the efficient production of transformed plants. Transformed lines carrying anti-fungal genes have been created for pea, faba bean and chickpea. These lines are undergoing evaluation for gene expression, and are being taken through segregating generations. Following multiplication, they will be challenged with fungal pathogens to determine the effect of the expression of the transgenes on these fungi.

The Scottish Crop Research Institute
UK-DD2 5DA Dundee
Tel.: +44 1382 56 27 31
Fax: +44 1382 56 24 26


  • Nigel W KERBY
    Mylnefield Research Services Ltd
    UK-DD2 5DA Dundee
    Tel.: +44-1382-56.27.31
    Fax: +44-1382-56.14.42

  • Evelyne TEOULE
    I.N.R.A. - Centre de Versailles
    Route De Saint-Cyr
    F-78026 Versailles
    Tel.: +33 1 30 83 33 06
    Fax: +33 1 30 83 33 19

  • Edgardo FILIPPONE
    Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Biologia Molecolare delle Piante
    Via Universita 100
    I-80055 Portici (Napoli)
    Tel.: +39 08 17 76 16 46
    Fax: +39 08 17 75 35 79

  • Thomas PICKARDT
    Freie Universität Berlin
    Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 6
    D-14195 Berlin
    Tel.: +49 308 38 58 08
    Fax: +49 308 384 345

  • Martine DUPARQUE
    Groupement des Selectionneurs de Pois Proteagineux - GIE
    Domaine de Brunehaut
    F-80200 Estrees-Mons
    Tel.: +33 3 22 85 75 18
    Fax: +33 3 22 85 69 96

  • Leon BROERS
    Nunhems Zaden BV
    Voort 6
    P.O. Box 4005
    NL-6080 AA Haelen
    Tel.: +31 475 59 92 22
    Fax: +31 475 59 92 23

  • Hans-Joerg JACOBSEN
    Universität Hannover
    Herrenhäuser straße 2
    D-30419 Hannover
    Tel.: +49 511 762 40 82
    Fax: +49 511 762 40 88

  • Graham John JELLIS
    Plant Breeding International Cambridge ltd
    Maris Lane
    UK-CB2 2LQ Trumpington - Cambridge
    Tel.: +44 1223 84 04 11
    Fax: +44 1223 84 44 25
  Search Top