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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #445042

Research Project: Improve Hessian Fly Resistance of Southern Soft Red Winter Wheat - Georgia

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 6070-22000-019-016-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Sep 30, 2027

The objective of this research is to improve resistance of winter wheat germplasm adapted to the eastern United States to the Hessian Fly that is an emerging threat to wheat production. Research done in the parent project relies heavily on use of molecular markers to track resistance genes in wheat. Genotyping and field screening of breeding program germplasm is essential to increasing the overall level of resistance to Hessian Fly in SRWW germplasm and to improve marker resources to select for resistance indirectly. By establishing research with cooperator to conduct field screening, we can increase the likelihood of obtaining useful data after infestation with natural pest populations. We aim to improve host resistance in areas where warmer winters are conducive to multiple HF life cycles, which leads to greater crop damage and the development of increasingly virulent HF populations. In this project, screening of diverse breeding program material in field nurseries will be coupled with genotyping to make genomic predictions and identify major genes available to inform breeding program decisions. Specific objective include: (1) Prepare information on level of cultivar resistance to guide grower decisions; (2) Combine genotyping and field screening efforts to improve resistance of breeding program; (3) Identify further sources of resistance and linked DNA markers for selection efforts; and (4) Incorporate the new genomic and phenomic resources into the development of improved high-throughput approaches used for selection in breeding populations.

ARS researchers at Raleigh, NC and cooperator have complementary strengths that will enable achievement of objectives 1-4. Obj. 1 Wheat cultivars and elite breeding lines will be evaluated in a recurring Hessian Fly screening nursery, in a field heavily infested for Hessian Fly during the previous growing season that has been harvested high to maintain stubble. Three-row plots will be sown into the field and rated for Hessian Fly damage as infestation appear. Rating will include evaluation of unmanned aerial systems and machine learning approaches to score plots. Screening results will be shared with ARS PI, other wheat breeders and extension personnel as appropriate. Obj. 2 Breeding material, including parents for crossing and segregating progeny will be evaluated as described above. Phenotypic and DNA marker data will be used to select high-yielding lines having HF resistance. Obj. 3 In addition to eastern winter wheat, diverse wheat accessions will be evaluated in the field nursery to identify new source of HF resistance. Phenotypic data will be combined with genotyping data for identification of markers linked to resistance loci. Obj. 4 Hessian fly resistant lines will be used in crossing and segregating population subject to marker-assisted and genomic selection for development of improved, HF resistant cultivars.