Analysis of allele diversity for improvement of nutritional profile and disease resistance in pea.


Development of cultivars with improved nutritional profile and agronomic characters are among the major objectives in field pea breeding at the Crop Development Centre (CDC). Genetic diversity among parental lines contributes significantly to progress in developing new crop cultivars. Currently the CDC pea breeding program utilizes Canadian cultivars and germplasm from western Europe, Australia and the United States as parents in breeding. Germplasm from eastern Europe and Russia has not been exploited in the CDC or other Canadian breeding programs, thus, this germplasm presents interesting possibilities to enhance pea breeding.

In this project, 169 pea accessions of the cultivated pea Pisum sativum,  wild relative species P. fulvum and several wild sub-species accessions (subspp. abyssinicum, arvense, and elatius) collected from eastern Europe, Russia and Canada were screened for their nutritional profile including total starch, amylose, amylopectin, fiber and protein by wet chemistry and/or near infrared (NIR) methods, and for reaction to ascochyta blight under controlled and/or field conditions. Primer pairs for 22 candidate genes affecting carbohydrate metabolism, protein deposition and ascochyta blight resistance were selected (Aubert et al. 2006, Prioul-Gervais et al. 2007). These primers were used to amplify DNA fragments from 56 accessions selected based on their diverse phenotypic performance (high/low) from the initial screening of 169 accessions, and allele variants for these genes  were detected by sequencing the PCR products using primers designed to amplify the intronic region of the candidate genes. Selected accessions were sequenced at all 22 candidate genes to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These SNPs will be integrated to previous maps, i.e.,  from Carneval x MP1401 (Tar’an et al. 2003) and from Orb x CDC Striker (Ubayasena et al. 2010). Allele variation within the candidate genes across the pea genotypes will be correlated to their phenotypic values. Germplasm accessions with desirable profiles will be used in the pea breeding program. The SNP markers developed in this project will facilitate the marker assisted selection program to incorporate the diverse alleles into improved pea cultivars. 

Research Area
Breeding & Genetics

Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular techniques. ... [more]

Related Species

Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is one of the first domesticated crops, and was the model crop for the foundational genetic studies by Gregor Mendel, which he first reported in 1865. Pea is grown in most temperate regions of the world with annual production over the past decade of 10-12 million tonnes of field pea and 14-17 million tonnes of vegetable pea. Pea belongs to the Leguminosae family and consists of two species, P. fulvum and P. sativum with several ‘wild’ subspecies of P. sativum. Canada is the leading producer and exporter of field pea in the world. Saskatchewan is the leading province in pea production followed by Alberta and Manitoba. ... [more]

Sequences, Variants & Markers