Onions are considered the second most popular vegetable in the world, with the UK producing over 450,000 tonnes each year. Growers are facing increasing challenges in producing quality crops, with crop losses attributed to a range of pests and diseases in the field, as well as abiotic traits such as draught tolerance.
Within VeGIN we are carrying out a programme of resource building to facilitate the genetic improvement of onion. The network activities will ensure strong links with industry, providing a route for market delivery of R&D outcomes.
Current projects are focussed on the development and use of phenotypic screening protocols for use in the onion diversity fixed foundation sets and mapping populations for natural variation in response to abiotic stresses such as drought, water-logging and salinity. The development of these techniques will allow further assessment on the role of genetic variability in abiotic stress responses in onion
Previous projects have focussed on developing assays to screen for resistance to biotic stresses including pathogens such as Fusarium and Downy Mildew as well as seedling vigour and response to Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF).