Lehrstuhl für Pflanzenzüchtung

Cloning the Rhizomania Resistance Gene Rz2 from Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima




Rhizomania is one of the most important sugar beet diseases in Germany as well as worldwide causing losses in sugar yield of up to 80% (Casarini, 1999). Rhizomania is controlled by the use of resistant sugar beet varieties, which are mostly derived from the “Holly” resistance source with the major gene Rz1. Due to global warming, disease pressure is expected to increase as well as the occurrence of more aggressive virus isolates. This could lead to a breakdown of rhizomania resistance currently available. Therefore, in order to secure sugar beet production in Western Europe as well as worldwide, new resistance sources have to be identified. The identification of new resistance genes and their introgression into elite breeding is a laborious and time consuming process. In order to facilitate this, we fine mapped the resistance gene Rz2 in an in situ wild beet population and subsequently identified the gene.

For this, we explored a natural wild beet population that segregates for rhizomania resistance by combining a mapping by sequencing approach with association analysis. Access to the DNA sequence of Rz2 allows the improvement of resistance against rhizomania, not only by marker assisted breeding but also by genome editing.


The objectives of this project were (i) to fine map the rhizomania resistance gene Rz2, (ii) to conduct map based cloning of Rz2, and (iii) to identify new sources of resistance to rhizomania.

Project team (Plant Breeding Institute, CAU Kiel):

Dr. Gina Capistrano
Dr. Friedrich Kopisch-Obuch
Sebastian Frerichmann
Meike Pfeiler
Monika Bruisch


Capistrano-Gossmann, G.G., Ries, D., Holtgräwe, D., Minoche, A., Kraft, T., Frerichmann, S.L.M., Rosleff Soerensen, T.,  Dohm, J. C., González, I., Schilhabel, M., Varrelmann, M., Tschoep, H., Uphoff, H., Lein, J.C., Mechelke, W., Schechert, A.W., Frese, L., Himmelbauer, H., Weisshaar, B., Kopisch-Obuch, F. J. Identification of the Rhizomania resistance gene Rz2 by direct mapping in a natural population of wild beets (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima). In preparation.

G. Capistrano-Goßmann (2015) Erfolgsstory: Rizomaniaresistenz in Zuckerrüben. GFPi Geschäftsbericht 2015, 8-9. http://www.bdp-online.de/de/GFPi/GFPi_GB_2015.pdf

Capistrano, G.G., Ries, D., Minoche, A., Kraft, T., Frerichmann , S.L.M., Holtgräwe , D., Rosleff-Soerensen , T., Varrelmann , M., Uphoff , H., Mechelke , W., Schechert , A.W., Himmelbauer, H., Weisshaar, B., Kopisch-Obuch, F. Fine Mapping of Rhizomania Resistance using in situ Populations of the Wild Beet Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima. Plant & Animal Genomes XXII Conference, January 10-15 2014, San Diego-CA, USA. Poster Presentation.

F.J. Kopisch-Obuch, S.L.M. Frerichmann and G. Capistrano-Goßmann (2013) Fine-mapping of rhizomania resistance using an in situ population of B. vulgaris subsp. Maritima. Report of a Working Group on Beta and the World Beta Network - Fourth Joint Meeting, 20-22 June 2012, Cappelle-en-Pévèle, France.

Friedrich Kopisch-Obuch and Gina Capistrano-Gossmann (2012). Fine mapping of the Rhizomania resistance gene Rz2 in Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima. "Breeding Crops for sustainable agricultural production" Symposium of GPZ e.V., Gießen, 28.2.-1-3.2012
Poster Presentation.

Scientific Partner:

David Ries, Dr. Daniela Holtgräwe, Thomas Rosleff Soerensen, Dr. Bernd Weisshaar, Cebitec Bielefeld
Dr. Mark Varrelmann, Institut für Zuckerrübenforschung, Göttingen
Dr. Heinz Himmelbauer, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain
Dr. Lothar Frese – JKI, Quedlinburg
Dr. Markus Schilhabel, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University

Industry Partners:

Dr. Wolfgang Mechelke, KWS Saat AG
Dr. Hendrik Tschoep, SESVanderHave
Dr. Axel Schechert, Strube Research
Dr. Hubert Uphoff, Dr. Thomas Kraft, Syngenta Seeds GmbH

Funding (2011 - 2014):

Funding was provided by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) grant FKZ 2814505310.


Updated: 5-Sept-16            Responsible for this webpage: Dr. Gina Capistrano-Großmann