Postgraduate Profiles

Aldrin Cantila

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Thesis: Exploring the genetic potential in Brassica napus cultivars and its wild relatives for Blackleg resistance genes

Brassica napus, canola or rapeseed, is one of the banner crops in Australia. Ensuring high yield is the top priority but it can be limited due to blackleg disease. It is important to gain full knowledge of the mechanism of the disease (avirulent, Avr) and plant (resistance, R) gene interaction. The loss of crop resistance leads to severe production damage, equating to huge monetary loss. Hence, the aims of this project are to genetically identify and explore R genes against the disease using phenotypic and genomic evaluation. Then, the whole genome re-sequencing (WGR) with high densities of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) will be used in the genome-wide association study (GWAS) and candidate identification. Variable R genes, gene ontologies, and predicted functions, phylogenetic relationships, analysis of molecular variance, and population structure will also be done to gain further understanding in the evolution of R genes. Results then will be useful for researchers in canola development and breeding programs.

Why my research is important

Due to Blackleg disease, almost 23.2 billion dollars (AUD) is lost each cropping season in canola globally . If not the main reason, the lost is largely accounted to the breakdown of resistance in canola cultivars. Still, deploying resistant (R genes) cultivars against the disease is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound measure but the disease with avirulence (Avr) gene overcomes R gene in a relatively short period. Thus, this project aims to genetically identify blackleg resistance in Australian cultivars and wild relatives using phenotypic and genomic evaluation.

Funding

Jun 2019

Jun 2023

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