Alternatives to Sm1: hairy glumes, awns, and egg antibiosis for managing wheat midge

The main focus of this project is to develop spring wheat lines that carry the “hairy glume” (HG) trait, an awned trait and the Sm1 trait, as an alternative to single source of midge resistance (Sm1 trait) to mitigate wheat midge problem, and to evaluate their effectiveness against wheat midge.

  • Term:  4 year, beginning 2019

  • Funding Amount: $ 114,620

  • Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Tyler Wist (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon)

  • Funding Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association and Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture -Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

The main focus of this project is to develop spring wheat lines that carry the “hairy glume” (HG) trait, an awned trait and the Sm1 trait, as an alternative to single source of midge resistance (Sm1 trait) to mitigate wheat midge problem, and to evaluate their effectiveness against wheat midge.

Wheat midge (WM) is the single most damaging insect pest of wheat in Saskatchewan. At the moment, control options include evening spraying of insecticides or utilization of a wheat variety that carries the Sm1 gene. If the Sm1 gene is lost due to midge developing virulence, $3-300 M damage to wheat crops in Canada is possible each year. The value of Sm1 exceeds $1 billion to western Canadian farmers if Sm1 remains effective for 25 years, and Sm1 prevents 70% of wheat midge associated losses. To date, no additional wheat midge resistance genes have been identified except for the antixenosis trait of Oviposition Deterrence (OD) where the mechanism is linked to host volatile odours. In addition to resistance management, it is imperative to identify new WM resistance genes to replace Sm1 when it invariably fails. Presently, OD is the only other known host mechanism for managing wheat midge and it is already under investigation.

This project builds on the previously funded projects on developing/identifying alternative midge resistance traits, and aim to develop spring wheat lines with new midge resistance traits other than Sm1 as indicated above.