U of M Research on Improved Fusarium Resistance

CANADA - Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba is targeting the identification of genes that will strengthen a wheat plant's resistance to fusarium head blight, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of the University of Manitoba's fusarium head blight resistance program a two year study will examine the interaction between the fusarium pathogen and resistance in specific wheat cultivars.

The project is one of four graduate student projects being supported through the 2008 Canadian Wheat Board fellowship awards.

Graduate student Tyler Guerrieri explains the goal is to find new resistance genes in wheat and to characterize previously existing resistance genes.

Tyler Guerrieri-University of Manitoba

We know that there are a number of different resistance genes, each contributing a fraction to the total resistance of a wheat cultivar.

These factors are pretty complex, especially because there are no genes that we know of which give a total resistance or a qualitative resistance.

They each contribute a small amount and the more number of genes that a wheat line or variety has the greater its total resistance.

So it can be difficult to transfer this resistance from a line that may be very resistant but of poor quality in other aspects such as agronomy or baking quality etceteras into a line that has all of the agronomic traits that we want, it's acclimatized to our region, it has the baking quality, all of these other factors that are so important but it's not very resistant.

Guerrieri expects the study to provide information that will assist plant breeders in evaluating the merits of wheat lines for use in the breeding program.

He hopes the work will ultimately lead to improved fusarium resistance in the wheat varieties and increased product quality.

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