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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Cereal Crops Improvement Research » Research » Research Project #444812

Research Project: Improvement of Disease and Pest Resistance in Barley, Durum, Oat, and Wheat Using Genetics and Genomics

Location: Cereal Crops Improvement Research

Project Number: 3060-21000-046-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 1, 2023
End Date: Feb 28, 2028

OBEJCTIVE 1: Identify and map new genes for tan spot and stem rust resistance in wheat, crown rust resistance in oat, net blotch and leaf rust susceptibility in barley, and Hessian fly resistance in barley. Sub-objective 1.A: Map and characterize genetic loci governing susceptibility to tan spot caused by Pyrenophora tritici-repentis race 5 isolates. Sub-objective 1.B: Map and characterize a gene conferring resistance to Hessian fly in barley. Sub-objective 1.C: Map and characterize a barley gene governing susceptibility to leaf rust. Sub-objective 1.D: Map genetic loci determining resistance to stem rust caused by Puccinia graminis in durum wheat. Sub-objective 1.E: Map and characterize genetic loci associated with adult plant resistance for oat crown rust caused by Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae. OBEJCTIVE 2: Characterize the functional nature of genes governing susceptibility to septoria nodorum blotch in wheat and durum and net blotch in barley. Sub-objective 2.A: Identify, map, and clone the Snn5-B2 gene in durum wheat. Sub-objective 2.B: Clone and characterize the Snn7 gene in wheat. Sub-objective 2.C: Map, clone, and characterize a barley gene conferring broad-spectrum susceptibility to spot form net blotch. OBEJCTIVE 3: Develop new genotyping platforms and whole genome sequences for small grain crops, and conduct high-throughput genotyping in partnership with small grains researchers. Sub-objective 3.A: Develop new genotyping platform in oats to support variety development and research. Sub-objective 3.B: Produce genome sequences and re-sequencing data of high-priority germplasm in small grains. Sub-objective 3.C: Provide high-throughput genotyping services to support small grains variety development and research. OBEJCTIVE 4: Improve molecular breeding in oat by developing a genomic selection pipeline and high-throughput methods for phenotyping foliar diseases. Sub-objective 4.A: Build a genomic selection pipeline for spring oat breeding and selection. Sub-objective 4.B: Develop and test high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) methods to rapidly assess foliar diseases of diverse spring oat lines in contrasting environments. OBEJCTIVE 5: Identify and characterize interactions among biotic and abiotic stresses in wheat under various climate change scenarios. Sub-objective 5.A: Identify accessions of Ae. umbellulata with rust resistance and heat stress tolerance. Sub-objective 5.B: Identify and characterize genetic loci in Ae. umbellulata associated with rust resistance and heat tolerance.

Small grain crops including wheat, durum, barley, and oat are grown worldwide and are critical sources of sustenance for humans and livestock. However, small grain production is under constant threat due to diseases, pests, and abiotic stresses posed by climate change. To meet future demands, yield and yield stability of small grains will need to increase substantially. Genetic and genomic information underlying stress resistance coupled with high-throughput phenotyping and genotyping technologies along with marker-assisted and genomic selection will accelerate the development of superior varieties. Toward this goal, we will identify new resistance genes for Hessian fly in barley, stem rust in durum, crown rust in oat, and stem, leaf, and stripe rust along with heat tolerance in the wild wheat relative Aegilops umbellulata. Genes governing susceptibility to tan spot and septoria nodorum blotch in wheat and durum, along with leaf rust and spot form net blotch in barley, will also be identified and/or cloned and characterized to further our understanding of these interactions, develop markers for selective breeding, and acquire sequences for development of resistant lines through gene-editing. Because technologies have lagged for oat compared to the other small grains, we will develop a new genotyping platform, a genomic selection pipeline, and high-throughput phenotyping methodologies to accelerate oat varietal development. To contribute to the body of genomic information in the small grains communities, new whole genome sequences will be obtained and made available. Finally, high-throughput genotyping services for regional small grains breeders and geneticists will continue in an effort to assist small grain breeding programs to rapidly develop varieties with improved performance. Together, these efforts will directly benefit small grain breeding programs and ultimately growers and consumers by providing knowledge and tools that lead to higher yielding varieties less prone to stress-related losses.