Phenotyping Fusarium Head Blight for Genetic Enhancement of Wheat

The main focus of this project is to provide reliable phenotypic evaluations for Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) resistance that are critical to development of new genetic tools, breeding for resistance, and validation of results from genomic research.

  • Term:  2 year, beginning 2019

  • Funding Amount: $ 129,013

  • Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Anita Brule-Babel (University of Manitoba)

  • Funding Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission and Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association

Project Description

The main focus of this project is to provide reliable phenotypic evaluations for Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) resistance that are critical to development of new genetic tools, breeding for resistance, and validation of results from genomic research.

Expression of FHB resistance is highly influenced by the environment, and requires evaluation in highly specialized nurseries that provide uniform conditions for accurate phenotyping. This project will be carried out at the well-established FHB nursery at University of Manitoba. The overall objectives of this project are: (1) to enhance FHB phenotyping capacity for spring and winter wheat breeders, and geneticists by testing up to 5000 spring wheat lines, and 1200 to 2000 winter wheat lines; (2) to generate individual plot data for Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) and DON levels for variety registration trials, and post registration trials; and (3) to generate phenotypic data for ongoing genetic studies being conducted by collaborators. The FHB screening nursery program also trains undergraduate students to build the capacity for wheat research.

The phenotypic FHB data from this project will support the continued efforts toward incorporating, and combining better sources of genetic resistance into Canadian wheat cultivars by the breeders and geneticists, and to facilitate the development of tools that may revolutionize future FHB breeding advances.  This will benefit the entire wheat value chain and ensure that Canadian wheat continues to be competitive on world markets.