Plant Science Research

NRGene Canada Updates On High-Resistance Canola Lines to Combat Clubroot Disease

NRGene Canada Updates On High-Resistance Canola Lines to Combat Clubroot Disease

NRGene Canada, an AI genomics company, has significantly advanced in combating clubroot disease, a destructive fungal disease affecting canola crops. The company has successfully developed new canola lines exhibiting high resistance to clubroot, marking a significant stride in agricultural innovation.

The company has successfully pinpointed the unique genomic locations of a previously-identified trait for clubroot disease resistance in canola. Furthermore, NRGene Canada developed DNA markers to expedite the trait’s integration into elite canola seeds. This development has the potential to drastically reduce yield loss in infected areas, potentially saving farmers billions of dollars.

Farmers may experience a decrease in yield loss of up to 90% by planting resistant seeds. This advancement offers a much-needed solution to clubroot disease, which has affected the Canadian prairies since 2003 and has no known chemical treatment.

NRGene Canada’s Canola-SNPro™ genotyping kit, developed in 2021, facilitated the swift development of DNA markers. These markers, alongside the genotyping kit, have been used by significant seed developers for trait mapping and developing new canola varieties. This innovation enables canola seed producers to rapidly and cost-effectively produce novel, disease-resistant canola seeds.

The company recently filed a provisional patent to protect these high-resistance traits.

Canola is a cornerstone of Canada’s economy, contributing over CAD$29.9 billion annually. However, the spread of clubroot disease threatens the crop’s prosperity and the stability of the country’s agricultural sector. The disease harms the plant root structure, impairing its ability to absorb nutrients and reducing crop yield. Without treatment, this could critically impact global food security.

Dr. Gil Ronen, the NRGene founder and CEO, expressed his optimism about the development. “NRGene’s activity in the heart of the Canadian Prairies for over three years is already paying off with the development of a natural and efficient solution to overcome this most devastating disease in canola and save local farmers billions of dollars from yield loss,” he stated.

Backed by the Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), NRGene Canada anticipates the completion of the project by 2025. The company is currently seeking Canadian and global partners to ensure the availability of varieties bearing these resistance genes for farmers and producers.

Dr. Masood Rizvi, General Manager of NRGene Canada, emphasized the importance of utilizing AI and genomics to face future agricultural challenges. “Innovation and AI-Genomics empower us to provide farmers with resilient Clubroot resistance in Canola, safeguarding crop health and the environment. By deploying cutting-edge technologies, we are building a sustainable future for Canola before the next agricultural pandemic strikes,” he said.

Photo by Warren Umoh on Unsplash 

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