Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Cereal Disease Lab » Research » Research Project #435166

Research Project: Enhancing Fusarium Head Blight Resistance by Epigenetic Modification of Durum Cultivars

Location: Cereal Disease Lab

Project Number: 5062-21220-022-04-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Mar 1, 2021

Objective:
The specific objectives of this project are to: 1. Characterize the stability and inheritance of epigenetic changes in Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) resistant durum cultivars produced by altering the DNA methylation patterns. 2. Profile the transcriptome changes that have occurred as a result of epigenetic modification in resistant durum lines. The ultimate objective of this project is to enhance the resistance in durum cultivars by removal of persistent suppression mechanism. Through this project we aim to develop lines with enhanced FHB resistance and associated molecular markers that can be incorporated into durum breeding programs.

Approach:
Objective 1) Characterize the stability and inheritance of epigenetic changes in FHB resistant durum cultivars produced by altering the DNA methylation patterns. Plants generated from crosses of susceptible lines and resistant mutants will be evaluated to examine if the modified resistance gene(s) are stably inherited. These lines will then be released as germplasm to the durum breeding program for use in development and release of resistant cultivars. Objective 2) Profile the transcriptome changes that have occurred as a result of epigenetic modification in resistant durum lines. To identify what epigenetic changes in the resistant lines relative to the parental lines have occurred at the molecular level and develop markers that can be used for further selection by the breeding programs, the genes that were activated by the removal of epigenetic marks will be identified through transcriptome analysis of the two lines. Thus, by the end of this project we expect to have a better understanding of the molecular mechanism that led to significant increases in resistance of several durum cultivars by removal of CG DNA methylation.