Submitted to: National Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2004
Publication Date: 11/5/2004
Citation: Jauhar, P.P., Xu, S.S. 2004. Breeding fusarium head blight resistance into wheat cultivars: can we win the race?. Intl. Symposium on Fusarium Head Blight Forum Proceedings.
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 var. dicoccoides Körn) that shares the A and B genomes with durum wheat, 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 defeat this ravaging disease.