Ausschreibung Kurse und Praktika

Master Thesis in Plant breeding/Plant Pathology

Title: Disease resistance in pea towards the root rot pathogen
Aphanomyces euteiches


The oomycete pathogen Aphanomyces euteiches causes root rot in various legume species such as in pea (Pisum sativum L.). Aphanomyces root rot is the major constraint for increased pea
production in Europe and can cause very high yield losses and affect quality negatively.
Common symptoms of infection include root browning, reduction of root volume and function and in extreme cases plant death. However, sources of root rot resistance in pea are scarce. The pea landrace PI180693 was shown to carry partial resistance towards root rot caused by A. euteiches, although it also possesses many commercially disadvantageous properties. A better understanding of the genetics underlying both disease resistance in pea towards A. euteiches as
well as the pathogen’s aggressiveness on its host are essential for improved pea breeding and deployment of resistant cultivars in agriculture.


The main study objective includes phenotyping experiments, i.e. infection assays including the pea line PI180693 and several European A. euteiches strains with varying levels of virulence.
Infected pea roots will be scored for disease severity and compared to data from previous experiments and/or field data. In parallel, the dynamics of the infection process will be monitored using molecular methods, including host and pathogen gene expression patterns
during infection.

Proposed Methodology

The practical work will include experiments in the growth chambers, disease scoring, cultivation of oomycete strains and basic laboratory procedures. The molecular work will include DNA and RNA extractions, and quantitative PCR. The MSc candidate will document
the work progress, perform basic statistical analyses and is required to write up the work in form of a MSc thesis and/or project report.


We’re looking for a motivated, reliable student with a keen interest in plant breeding and phytopathology. Basic knowledge of statistics and R, as well as basic lab experience are a plus.

Other information

Language: English
Proposed time: 6 months (30 ECTS), summer term 2022
Location of Research: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology,
Campus Ultuna, Uppsala
Application deadline: 30.04.2022
Contact persons: Magnus Karlsson: magnus.karlsson@slu.se
Carol Kälin: carol.kalin@slu.se