Locating the source of fusarium resistance in durum wheat

Locating the source of fusarium resistance in durum wheat

Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a disease that infects wheat crops and reduces their quality and yields. FHB also produces the toxin, deoxynivalenol (also known as DON or vomitoxin), which makes infected wheat unsafe for humans and animals to eat. A team of researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Research Laboratory, the National Research Council, and the University of Saskatchewan narrowed down the location of the genes responsible for FHB resistance in durum wheat. This location allows us to more accurately identify FHB resistant wheat, which helps protect producers from the challenges of diseased crops.

FHB damage is a common threat to wheat crops. Breeders try to remedy this by breeding wheat varieties with increased resistance to FHB. Finding the location of the genes that are responsible for FHB resistance can help us understand how the resistance works. It can also reveal which plant characteristics are connected to resistance. This information helps breeders develop more resistant wheat.

The team of researchers examined 72 types of durum that had all been bred from the same variety. They confirmed that the source of FHB resistance was in the same location in every type. The group also analyzed wheat lines from around the world to see if any might carry the same resistance genes.

This research will be useful for both finding and developing more resistant types of wheat. A higher availability of high-resistance wheat helps protect producers against FHB-damaged crops. This allows them to grow safer, healthier, and higher-quality wheat.


“We have a better understanding of sources resistant to Fusarium Head Blight in durum wheat, which can be used to breed improved cultivars. This helps Canadian producers fight fusarium damage.”

Dr. Sean Walkowiak
Program Manager, Microbiology, Grain Research Laboratory
Dr. Sean Walkowiak

For more information:

Sari, E., Knox, R.E., Ruan, Y. et al. Historic recombination in a durum wheat breeding panel enables high-resolution mapping of Fusarium head blight resistance quantitative trait loci. Sci Rep 10, 7567 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64399-1

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