Location: Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research
Project Number: 3020-21000-012-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Mar 26, 2023
End Date: Mar 25, 2028
OBJECTIVE 1: Characterize wheat genetic resources for priority traits including resistance to damaging fungal pathogens (stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust, Fusarium head scab), resistance to viruses, resistance to Hessian fly and wheat stem sawfly, tolerance to heat stress, and nutritional quality. Sub-Objective 1A: Characterize wheat genetic resources for resistance to stripe rust, leaf rust, and stem rust. Sub-Objective 1B: Characterize wheat genetic resources for resistance to Fusarium head blight. Sub-Objective 1C: Characterize wheat genetic resources for resistance to vectored viruses. Sub-Objective 1D: Characterize wheat genetic resources for resistance to Hessian Fly and wheat stem sawfly. Sub-Objective 1E: Characterize wheat genetic resources for tolerance to heat stress. Sub-Objective 1F: Characterize wheat genetic resources for improved nutritional quality traits. OBJECTIVE 2: Incorporate genetic traits into high yielding winter wheat germplasm and distribute germplasm to the breeding community. Sub-Objective 2A: Incorporate resistance to stripe rust, leaf rust, and stem rust. Sub-Objective 2B: Incorporate resistance to Fusarium head blight. Sub-Objective 2C: Develop hard winter wheat germplasm with resistance to arthropod-vectored viruses. Sub-Objective 2D: Incorporate new sources of genetic resistance to Hessian Fly and wheat stem sawfly. Sub-Objective 2E: Incorporate tolerance to heat stress during grain development. Sub-Objective 2F: Incorporate improved nutritional quality traits. OBJECTIVE 3: Develop resource-efficient molecular marker technologies and bioinformatic tools for priority genetic traits and deploy these technologies for cultivar development. Sub-Objective 3A: Develop new or improved trait-specific SNP-based markers for important genes. Sub-Objective 3B: Develop and optimize new genome-wide multiplexed amplicon sequencing assay(s) and imputation protocols for gene postulation and genomic selection. Sub-Objective 3C: Transfer genotyping data and information to the breeding community. OBJECTIVE4: Characterize molecular foundations of critical plant-microbe and plant-insect interactions toward development of effective, durable host plant resistance in wheat. Sub-Objective 4A: Identify Hessian fly effectors and their interacting targets in wheat. Sub-Objective 4B: Characterize molecular foundations of virulence and resistance for leaf rust. Sub-Objective 4C: Create new sources of resistance to Fusarium head blight.
Production of hard winter wheat on the Great Plains is constrained by recurring and intractable problems including diseases, insect pests, and heat stress. Nutrient deficiencies in grain affect nutritional quality of wheat food products. Our first objective is to identify germplasm with improved resistance to leaf rust, stripe rust, stem rust, Hessian fly, wheat stem sawfly, Fusarium head blight, and viruses; improved tolerance to heat stress; and increased grain protein, iron, and zinc concentrations. The second objective is to transfer these traits into adapted backgrounds and release new germplasm for use as parents in cultivar development. Our work will include a focused evaluation of the effects of new disease resistance traits on crop productivity. We will launch a novel application of a male-sterile recurrent selection population and our speed-breeding platform for a bulk selection project to improve grain filling and yield under heat stress. The third objective is to develop more efficient wheat breeding techniques using high-throughput genotyping technologies and large-scale data mining tools. New allele-specific PCR assays, multiplexed amplicon sequencing assays, and genomic databases will be developed and used to characterize breeding material for the presence of genes of interest. Phenotype and genotype data will be distributed to the breeding community through USDA-supported databases. The fourth objective is to characterize the molecular basis for interaction between wheat plants and the leaf rust and Fusarium head blight pathogens, and between wheat plants and the Hessian fly. Greater understanding of molecular foundations of host-pest interactions may lead to better strategies for durable resistance. This project directly supports and collaborates with public (CO, KS, MT, ND, NE, OK, SD, TX, USDA-ARS) and private hard winter wheat breeding programs. The ultimate beneficiaries of this project are wheat producers, grain handlers and the grain export industry, flour millers, bakers, and all who consume wheat.