Molecular markers are efficient tools today in plant breeding research and applied plant breeding, facilitating an enhanced use of the genetic diversity detected in genetic resources with respect to biotic and abiotic stress. Marker-based selection to improve stress resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress can be conducted in early developmental stages of plant development independently of environmental conditions.
Based on the phenotypic data provided by the other research groups of the Institute for Resistance Research and Stress Tolerance, genes and genomic regions involved in the reaction to biotic and abiotic stress are identified and closely linked markers are developed. These may be used to enhance the introgression of resistance genes derived from unadapted genetic resources, e.g. via marker based backcrossing procedures. Futhermore, they facilitate the combination of different resistance genes against one pathogen (pyramiding), thereby prolonging the usability of partly overcome resistance genes or improving the level of resistance.
For developing such markers, high throughput marker technologies, expression analyses, next generation sequencing technologies and publicly available sequence information are used. It is assumed that in the future, based on these techniques, genes and genetic networks involved in resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress will be identified on a large scale, facilitating the use of genetic resources at the allele level.