SASKATOON, Saskatchewan–Using Genomics and AI, NRGene Canada has identified novel non-GMO canola genetics that exhibit high resistance against multiple pathotypes of clubroot disease. By breeding novel Canola varieties with resistant traits, the Canadian economy could see billions of dollars in economic stimulus due to yield gain and reintroduction of infected acres.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based AI genomics firm, NRGene Canada Inc. is pleased to announce the development of novel non-GMO genetics in Canola (Brassica napus L.). These genetics exhibit high resistance to multiple pathotypes of the fungal disease, commonly referred to as clubroot (Plasmodiophora brassicae). For some of the new pathotypes in the prairies, this is the first time resistant genetics have been identified. The dominantly inherited high resistance has been noted during the research and development process. This development is creating a unique defense strategy against this devastating disease affecting Canadian farmers.
“We brought our genomics and AI capabilities to the heart of the Canadian Prairies, to help local producers grow better yielding, and healthier crops. Our mission is to help create a food secure future, and the prairies are at the forefront of these efforts,” says Dr. Gil Ronen. NRGene founder and CEO, “we are looking for local partners to continue to combat diseases found in Canola to improve the crops health, production and vitality.”
Canola is one of Canada’s most valuable crops driving over $29.9B annually towards the Canadian economy. Clubroot has been exponentially expanding through the Canadian prairies since 2003; this disease is affecting root structure and the plants’ ability to uptake nutrients, in turn affecting yield output. Press releases from Saskatchewans’ Ministry of Agriculture state that clubroot has increased its foothold of Saskatchewan soil by 269% since 2018 . Clubroot has a severe negative impact on crop production that can cause a yield loss of 60% to 90%, correlating to a significant negative economic impact, as well as a negative impact on the race towards ensuring global food security. To date, no chemical treatment is available to eliminate the fungal disease from soil, leaving farmers with fewer and less desirable options in their rotation schedule.
“At SaskCanola, we are excited to see the development of new sources of clubroot resistance coming from industry. The potential of multiple resistance genes in future canola varieties may lead to durable resistance that could reduce disease severity in fields that are already being managed for clubroot. As well, these developments could reduce the ability of clubroot pathogen populations to adapt and defeat new resistance genetics which benefits all canola growers,” says Doug Heath, Research Manager at SaskCanola.
Developing elite varieties with durable multi-variant resistance is the most strategic course to fight clubroot. NRGene Canada is pleased to announce a significant milestone towards achieving the goal of multi-pathotype resistance:
– Identifying resistant sources to the most severe pathotypes.
– Identifying resistance traits in the progenies of canola plants that present dominant genetic inheritance.
– Identifying potential candidate genes of which are responsible for durable resistance.
NRGene Canada has recently filed a provisional patent to secure the intellectual property of these high resistance traits derived from novel non-GMO genetics.
Based on the achievement of this significant milestone, NRGene Canada assesses that by the end of 2023 the company will finalize the genetic markers development, which will ensure the successful introgression of the resistance traits to elite canola lines of its customers and partners.
NRGene Canada anticipates that this project will be completed by 2025, with the support of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). NRGene Canada is actively seeking local Canadian and global partners to ensure that varieties with these resistance genes are available to farmers and producers.
“The idea was to set up NRGene Canada within the Canadian prairie region, where agriculture innovation grows. Bringing our technology closer to the Canadian agricultural community allows us to work closely with our partners and producers, who can now take advantage of our Genomic and AI technology to work towards creating a more productive and sustainable future for Canadian agriculture.” – Dr, Masood Rizvi, General Manager, NRGene Canada
 https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2019/january/09/clubroot-survey + https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2023/january/09/2022-clubroot-distribution-in-saskatchewan
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