Work Package 3 - Resistance marker development and mobilising new resistances

This work package is being led by Ingo Hein and his colleagues Thomas Adams, Xinwei Chen, Glenn Bryan and Micha Bayer at the James Hutton Institute.

What does resistance to potato cyst nematodes (PCN) mean?

  • Resistance is the ability of a variety to limit PCN multiplication.
  • A resistant variety stimulates nematode eggs to hatch (just as a susceptible variety does), but the juvenile nematodes cannot form a feeding site on the roots as the resistant variety prevents the formation of a specialised feeding structure called the syncytium. 
  • With no syncytium to feed on, the nematodes never reach the adult stage, so their lifecycle is cut short, and the population decreases.
  • Resistant varieties can and should be used to control PCN. 


To find and develop markers within specific resistance genes that are effective in controlling both species of PCN (Globodera rostochiensis and Globodera pallida). 

New resistances from the wild species S. spegazzinii and S. verrucosum will also be introduced into pre-breeding programs to provide new sources of resistance and to ensure long-term PCN resistance

Why is marker- assisted selection (MAS) useful?

It is important to increase the number of varieties that are resistant to PCN and by using MAS, breeders are able to rapidly identify potential new varieties which are resistant without the requirement for extensive glasshouse and field testing.

Breeders can progress their resistance breeding programmes more quickly as the process takes less time.



For more information about WP 3, please contact