PATHOGEN POPULATION BIOLOGY AND GENOMICS, AND HOST RESISTANCE FOR FUSARIUM HEAD BLIGHT OF CEREALS
Cereal Disease Laboratory
Project Number: 3640-22000-023-00
Start Date: Apr 11, 2007
End Date: Apr 10, 2012
The long-term objective of this project is to reduce crop loss and mycotoxin contamination due to Fusarium head blight (FHB), the most serious disease for the U.S. wheat and barley industry. Emphasis is on characterization of the fungal genes critical for disease development, changes in FHB pathogen populations over time in the U.S. and potential new sources of FHB resistance is spring wheat. Over the next 5 years we will focus on the following objectives: Objective 1: Discover fungal genes critical for disease development. Sub-objective 1.A. Improve pathogen genomic resources by comparative genomic approaches resulting in characterization of additional plant pathogenic Fusarium species. Sub-objective 1.B. Characterize F. graminearum genes specifically xpressed during spore germination and plant infection by microarray analysis. Sub-objective 1.C. Identify additional F. graminearum genes critical to disease expression using random and directed mutagenesis methodologies. Objective 2: Monitor variation and changes in FHB pathogen populations and their potential impact on plant resistance. Sub-objective 2.A. Monitor genetic changes in ritical pathogen populations by pathogen surveys. Sub-objective 2.B. characterize wheat germplasms to identify new genes for FHB resistance and develop molecular markers and germplasm that facilitate the enhancement of plant breeding for FHB resistance.
Improved plant resistance and other disease control strategies are needed to maintain adequate disease control. Specific approaches include: 1) Genetic assessment of infection pathways in Fusarium head blight to learn where to target applications of fungicides, biological control agents or of defense response genes. 2) Identify new sources of resistance and determine inheritance and specificity of resistance. 3) Improve methods to evaluate scab resistance. 4) Characterize genetic variation on pathogen populations through the use of molecular genetic variation on pathogen populations through the use of molecular markers.