We are now working on developing molecular markers for the various resistance genes in Salix. To achieve this, we study Salix families consisting of hundreds of plants that are genetically different but closely related (siblings). By doing controlled infection experiments in growth chambers we are able to characterize various resistance reactions in these families. Examples of measurements are latent period and number and size of the fruiting bodies in the fungal attacks. We are also doing comparative assessments of rust resistance in the field on the same individuals. The data on resistance reactions are combined with the molecular marker data from the genetic maps for the Salix families. By QTL mapping we can find the regions in the genome where the resitance genes are located. When we have managed to identify markers close to the genes we can use them to examine which resistance genes are present in various Salix varieties and for selection of specific resistance genes in breeding of new varieties.
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