Submitted to: International Wheat Scab Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2004
Publication Date: December 10, 2004
Citation: Jauhar, P.P., Xu, S.S. 2004. Multidisciplinary approaches to breeding fusarium head blight resistance into commercial wheat cultivars: challenges ahead.International Wheat Scab Symposium Proceedings. In: Canty, S.M., Boring, T., Wardwell, J. and Ward, R.W. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Fusarium Head Blight; incorporating the 8th European Fusarium Seminar; 2004, 11-15 December; Orlando, FL, USA. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. pp 77-81. Interpretive Summary: Scab or Fusarium head blight is a devastating disease of both bread wheat and durum or macaroni wheat, causing huge losses to farmers. There is no scab resistance in current wheat cultivars and, therefore, we will need to tap wild species as sources of scab resistance. We found some wheatgrasses as potential donors of scab resistance, and by crossing them with durum cultivars we have produced scab-resistant durum germplasm. The development of novel gene-transfer techniques that allow direct delivery of desired genes into an otherwise superior wheat cultivar has provided us another important tool to fight scab. We standardized such a transgenic technology for durum wheat and are inserting antifungal genes into durum cultivars. We will need to employ all tools - conventional breeding, wide hybridization, molecular markers, and modern biotechnology to incorporate scab resistance into adapted cultivars of bread wheat and durum wheat to defeat this ravaging disease.
Technical Abstract: Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease of both bread wheat and durum wheat, causing huge losses to farmers. There is no reliable source of FHB resistance in the current wheat cultivars. However, wild relatives of wheat are useful sources of genes for resistance to several diseases, including FHB. Thus, wild emmer (Triticum turgidum L. var. dicoccoides Körn; 2n = 4x = 28; AABB), which shares the A and B genomes with durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum Desf; 2n = 4x = 28; AABB), is known to have genes for FHB resistance. It is in the primary gene pool of durum wheat and crosses readily with it. We have found that diploid wheatgrass (Lophopyrum elongatum (Host) Á. Löve, 2n = 2x = 14; EE), forming the secondary gene pool of wheat, is an excellent source of FHB resistance. These genes can be transferred to both bread wheat and durum wheat via hybridization. Transgenic approaches, involving direct transfer of anti-fungal genes into otherwise superior wheat cultivars, may also help combat FHB. We feel that we will need to employ all tools - conventional breeding, wide hybridization, and modern biotechnology to control this ravaging disease.