Towards Durable Fusarium and Rust Resistance in Cereals.


Subramaniam, G., Ouellet, T., Aboukhaddour, R., Blackwell, B., Fedak, G., Foster, A., Henriquez, M.A., Laroche, A., Larsen, J.; Miller, S., Overy, D., Rampitsch, C., Foroud, N., Schernthaner, J., Harris, L. 2017. Towards Durable Fusarium and Rust Resistance in Cereals. Wheat Science and Business Meeting, Saskatoon, November 8-9, 2017.


Reduction and ultimately prevention of Fusarium head blight (FHB) (Fusarium sp.) and rust (Puccinia sp.) are the top priorities for Canadian cereal producers. Agronomically important and FHB-resistant cereals are desired to minimize mycotoxin contamination and support the competitiveness of Canadian grain globally. To successfully manage stripe rust, novel resistance genes are needed to increase the reservoir of available and effective genes and thus reduce the pathogen pressure against specific genes. In addition, disease surveys have revealed that Fusarium and Puccinia populations across Canada are evolving. Through our established multidisciplinary network at AAFC involving 15 scientists at four research centres (breeding, genetics, genomics, proteomics, pathology, tissue culture, metabolomics and mycotoxin chemistry), our GRDI-funded project (Apr 2017 – Mar 2019) aims to map novel sources of FHB and rust resistance, validate plant candidate resistance and susceptibility genes, and investigate Fusarium infection mechanisms, regulation of mycotoxin production, novel secondary metabolites and Fusarium species interactions. We are analyzing transcriptome and targeted genome sequencing to identify genes in common wheat and wild wheat relatives contributing to susceptibility or resistance. We are continuing our efforts to integrate CRISPR gene editing to validate candidate genes in our wheat functional genomics platform to minimize Fusarium and Puccinia infection. This knowledge will be transferred to breeding programs for marker assisted selection and applied in FHB and stripe rust mitigation strategies. Our ultimate goal is to develop durable fungal resistance in cereal crops to combat these serious threats to the profitability of Canadian agriculture.