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M. Development Of Drought-Tolerant Species - Crops

Canola adapted to drought for low rainfall regions

Turner, D. Dr; Ph: (08) 9380 2415; Fax: (08) 9380 1108;

Research organisation: University of Western Australia, Nedlands WA 6907

Sponsor: GRDC, Grains Research and Development Corporation


1. To investigate responses of canola to drought and establish the magnitude of genetic variation in drought tolerance among Brassica species and within Brassica napus;

2. To determine the physiological traits that contribute most significantly to the observed genotypic differences;

3. To establish the genetic system determining the expression of physiological and morphological responses to drought and to estimate their heritability to find the most efficient breeding strategies for drought tolerance.

Methodology: Canola, as a valuable rotation crop, is usually grown in the higher rainfall areas of Western Australia. In the low rainfall regions, its low yields and poor performance limits its adoption by farmers. Development of cultivars of canola adapted to low rainfall areas will greatly benefit farmers. This project examines the primary and secondary gene pools of B. napus, and in particular B. juncea, to establish genetic variability for drought tolerance. We will identify the physiological and morphological traits responsible for tolerance and begin to establish their genetics to develop the most efficient breeding strategies for drought tolerance.

Progress: A glasshouse experiment was undertaken to investigate the impact of drought on B. napus cv Monty and B. juncea line 397-23-2-3-3 at different stages of development. Plants were droughted at the juvenile, stem elongation, anthesis and post anthesis stages. Plant water relations were followed and yield and yield components measured at maturity. Some evidence of osmotic adjustment was obtained but its presence differed from one growth stage to another. Field plots with a rainout shelter at Merredin, WA, are being used to evaluate a wide range of lines in 1998.

Keywords: Rape; Brassica napus; Brassica juncea; canola; drought resistance; genetic variation; genetic regulation; heritability

Period: starting date 1997-07; completion date 2000-06

Status: ongoing

Publications: None as yet

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