Expansion of in vitro selection to develop FHB and leaf spot resistant wheat and barley

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018

  • Funding Amount: $138,000

  • Lead Researcher(s): Nora Foroud (AAFC - Lethbridge)

  • Funding Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions, Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF)

Project Description

This project involves the development of wheat and barley germplasm with resistance to two important diseases: Fusarium head blight (FHB) and tan spot.

FHB results in deoxynivalenol (DON) toxin contamination of the grain. High levels of genetic resistance against FHB infection and DON accumulation are the most effective means to reduce the impact of this disease. Unfortunately, few highly resistant lines possess good agronomic adaptation, broad disease resistance, and suitable end-use quality, making FHB resistance breeding a daunting task. Furthermore, cultivar development is a long-term undertaking, requiring labour intensive, early generation screening followed by extensive agronomic testing over several environments.

Tan spot, caused by Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr), is the most destructive leaf spot disease of wheat in Western Canada. Recent reports indicate that Canadian barley cultivars are also susceptible to an emergent Ptr race in North America. The researchers have successfully employed an in vitro selection (IVS) method for producing doubled haploid (DH) wheat lines with resistance to FHB and DON. IVS can rapidly incorporate genetic resistance into susceptible germplasm, with resistance levels that may exceed that of either parent line. The objective of this project is to produce improved DH wheat and barley germplasm with high levels of resistance to FHB and DON accumulation, and to extend the use of IVS technology to incorporate selection for tan spot resistance.