Wanted: A rose that can defend itself from black spot and other diseases

an illustration of roses

Image: Academic Affairs Communications, Research Communications and Public Relations

Gardeners want a rose that can defend itself from disease, surveys say. A Texas A&M AgriLife researcher is working to give it to them.

David Byrne, an AgriLife Research rose breeder in College Station, is part of two national specialty crop research projects aimed at toughening up the rose’s ability to ward off diseases, such as black spot.

Byrne said researchers want molecular markers that point to black spot resistant genes so they could be identified in the breeding process.

“We can use the tools that we have now basically to find tags on chromosomes that mark traits,” he said. “This helps us select the parents, because we know which ones combine best to get the maximum black spot resistance. It also helps us select some of the seedlings that are going to be best, and that helps us select seedlings quicker.”

More at AgriLife Today and AgriLife Research