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Breeding Wheat for Blight Resistance

24.06.2011
Fusarium Head Blight is a devastating fungal disease of wheat that affects grain yield and grain quality throughout the world. In addition to shriveling wheat grains, this blight also produces a fungal toxin. Breeding wheat for resistance to this blight reduces damage and toxin levels in wheat.

Resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in wheat is controlled by strands of DNA linked to genes that cause specific traits. These are present in an exotic Chinese wheat cultivar not adapted to the U.S. mid-Atlantic region, where soft red winter wheat is grown.

A team of scientists at the University of Maryland, University of Kentucky, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture led by José Costa introduced three Fusarium Head Blight resistant lines from the Chinese cultivar into the adapted red winter wheat cultivar McCormick.

Eight wheat lines with different combinations of traits were developed and tracked using molecular markers. These wheat lines were tested for blight resistance over two years in four environments, including one greenhouse and three field evaluations.

According to Costa, a wheat line that combined two specific traits expressed the highest resistance and lowest toxin content across all four environments. These results indicated that the combination of these two genes would be most effective in breeding for improved blight resistance in soft red winter wheat in the mid-Atlantic region.

Results from the study were published in the 2011 May-June issue of the journal Crop Science. This study was funded by the USDA, the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, the Maryland Crop Improvement Association, and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at https://www.crops.org/publications/cs/articles/51/3/924.

Crop Science is the flagship journal of the Crop Science Society of America. Original research is peer-reviewed and published in this highly cited journal. It also contains invited review and interpretation articles and perspectives that offer insight and commentary on recent advances in crop science. For more information, visit www.crops.org/publications/cs

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives. For more information, visit www.crops.org

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org
http://www.crops.org

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