Der Verbund BARLEY-FORTRESS will Gene der Basalabwehr in Gerste nutzen, um die Resistenz gegen den Mehltaupilz Blumeria graminis und möglicherweise weiterer Schadpilze gezielt zu erhöhen. Im Vordergund des Interesses stehen dabei Kandidatengene der zellwandbasierten Abwehr, für welche Konsortiumspartner konvergente Evidenz aus einem RNAi-Ansatz, aus Transkriptprofilierungs-, assoziationsgenetischen- und QTL Studien besitzen.
BARLEY-FORTRESS is a research consortium for the targeted exploitation of basal defense genes in barley, and aims to introgress and engineer broad and durable pathogen resistance into this major crop. In a combined genomics-assisted backcrossing and transgenic approach valuable haplotypes of functionally validated basal defense genes will be introgressed from landraces and wild barley (pre-existing backcross lines) into German spring barley elite varieties, and selected combinations of genes will be stacked by marker-assisted selection or used for stacked overexpression or RNAi. Special emphasis will be placed on the improvement of penetration resistance via re-inforcing cell walls of attacked tissue, using a series of genes that have recently been identified by project partners (RNAi) and that are involved in targeted secretion, cell-wall synthesis/re-modelling and crosslinking. Plant resistance will be analysed in the field (after backcrossing) by standard disease rating methods and in the greenhouse (selected backcross lines and transgenic material) by macroscopic and microscopic assays including automated image analysis, pattern recognition, and spatiotemporal modeling. The most promising genotypes will be further analyzed by genome-wide transcript profiling as well as by cell-wall analysis, which will be performed by the project partner at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Wall Biology, Australia.