Role of Polyploidy in Apple for Resistance and Defence Induction against Venturia inaequalis, the Causal Agent of Apple Scab
Apple is an economically important fruit crop worldwide. The production of apples is however severely affected by apple scab, caused by a fungal agent Venturia inaequalis. The disease is currently mainly controlled by numerous fungicide treatments. To limit the amount of fungicide applications and hence the potential evolution of fungal resistance to them, alternative and durable control strategies should be devised. Polyploid apples - apples that acquire more than two sets of genetic material, carry beneficial traits such as stronger resistance to stress (apple scab, drought and salinity). Building on previous projects in the lab of Fruit Breeding and Biotechnology we aim to enhance the plants’ immune response to apple scab via artificial genome doubling in combination with inducing a quick and aggressive response through resistance gene mediated recognition of the pathogen or chemical defense priming. Inherently we also aim to unravel the common genetic aspects between the defense response initiated by a monogenic resistance and a primed defense. In this project we will investigate the effect of polyploidisation on the defense response of a monogenic resistant and a chemically induced susceptible genotype. Evaluating the disease phenotype and correlating it with a targeted multi-omics approach will allow us to precisely determine which genes, proteins and metabolic pathways are involved in the enhanced defense response in apple upon the infection by apple scab.