Hans Thordal-Christensen


Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen | htc@plen.ku.dk

Plant diseases are highly problematic in crop production, and pathogen control using agrochemicals is costly and environmentally damaging. For many years, plant breeders have introduced resistance (R)-genes into cultivars. However, these are normally only useful for a few years as pathogens easily overcome them. In the project, we will work on barley and wheat attacked by the serious powdery mildew and yellow rust diseases. From the interaction of these pathogens and plants, we will exploit our recent insight on plant immunity processes for generating durable disease resistance, and we intend to uncover essential molecular details that will be useful for this. Here we will study why the distantly related Arabidopsis plant cannot be invaded by these pathogens and modify barley and wheat according to this. Also, we will identify barley and wheat components that make them susceptible to powdery mildew and yellow rust. Eliminating such components should provide durable resistance.