Applying genomics to characterize and improve Fusarium head blight resistance in durum wheat


Ehsan Sari, Wentao Zhang, Peng Gao, Kerry Boyle, Adrian Cabral, David Konkin, Maria Antonia Henriquez, Andrew Burt, Santosh Kumar, Randy Kutcher, Curtis J. Pozniak, Yuefeng Ruan, Ron Knox, and Pierre R. Fobert. 2018. Applying genomics to characterize and improve Fusarium head blight resistance in durum wheat. 9th Canadian Workshop on Fusarium Head Blight/4th Canadian Wheat Symposium, Winnipeg, Canada, November 19-22, 2018.


Canada Western Amber Durum is the second largest class of wheat grown in Canada, supplying more than a third of the world’s total exported durum. It is considered the most susceptible wheat to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) with few effective resistance genes available to durum wheat breeders. Accordingly, the spread of FHB into durum growing areas of the Canadian prairies has created a serious problem for the industry, responsible for the downgrading of a significant amount of the crop and millions of dollars in lost revenue in 2016 alone. To address the challenge of developing of new durum cultivars with desirable FHB resistance, several new initiatives have been launched that exploit modern genetic and genomics approaches. This presentation will highlight recent advances by our group in the following areas: (1) Exploiting known FHB resistance genes, including the fine-mapping of the large genetic intervals underlying priority FHB resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL), the development of new genomics sequence resources, and haplotyping to identify more predictive SNPs as candidates for marker-assisted selection (MAS); (2) Investigating the genetic basis of FHB resistance available in breeding programs, including Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and Nested Association Mapping (NAM) in breeder assembled panels; and (3) Screening of non-adapted tetraploid wheats as new sources of effective FHB resistance.