Development of fully cleistogamous wheat and associated markers

  • Term: Three years, beginning 2015

  • Funding amount: $68,370

  • Lead researcher(s): Dr. Patricia Vrinten, National Research Council of Canada (NRC)

  • Funding partners: Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

Fusarium head blight (FHB) in wheat is a serious problem in Canada, causing decreases in yield and reductions in quality. Genetic resistance is the most economical and environmentally desirable method of combating plant diseases and improving economic outputs for producers, but to date no completely FHB-resistant wheat lines have been identified.

This research aims to develop genotypes that could contribute to increased FHB resistance and possibly increased ergot resistance, by developing fully cleistogamous wheat and associated markers (cleistogamous refers to traits of certain plants to propagate by using non-opening, self-pollinating flowers). A fully cleistogamous genotype may also provide other economic benefits such as limiting gene flow. More specifically, this project aims to: Identify and determine effects of Clys1 null alleles (the Clys1 gene controls cleistogamous) and develop DNA markers completely linked to Clys1 null alleles and to Clys1 alleles with variation in the miRNA region.

The targeted outcome of this research is the development of a set of genetic markers linked to the cleistogamous trait in wheat, which would be easy for breeders to use and potentially integrate into a breeding program.