SLU news

Master thesis project on disease resistance in pea available

Published: 09 February 2022
Green plants where the roots lie in water in a round dish. Photo.
Pea roots are being investigated. Photo: Cajsa Lithell.

We are looking for a student who want to do a master thesis in plant breeding. The subject is disease resistance in pea towards the root rot pathogen Aphanomyces euteiches. Last day to apply is 30 April 2022.

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.

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.


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: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Campus Ultuna, Uppsala 
  • Application deadline: 30th of April, 2022
  • Contact persons: Magnus Karlsson, and Carol Kälin,