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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Characterizing Winter Wheat Germplasm for Fusarium Head Blight Resistance Under Accelerated Growth Conditions

Zakieh, Mustafa; Gaikpa, David S.; Leiva Sandoval, Fernanda; Alamrani, Marwan; Henriksson, Tina; Odilbekov, Firuz; Chawade, Aakash


Fusarium head blight (FHB) is one of the economically important diseases of wheat as it causes severe yield loss and reduces grain quality. In winter wheat, due to its vernalization requirement, it takes an exceptionally long time for plants to reach the heading stage, thereby prolonging the time it takes for characterizing germplasm for FHB resistance. Therefore, in this work, we developed a protocol to evaluate winter wheat germplasm for FHB resistance under accelerated growth conditions. The protocol reduces the time required for plants to begin heading while avoiding any visible symptoms of stress on plants. The protocol was tested on 432 genotypes obtained from a breeding program and a genebank. The mean area under disease progress curve for FHB was 225.13 in the breeding set and 195.53 in the genebank set, indicating that the germplasm from the genebank set had higher resistance to FHB. In total, 10 quantitative trait loci (QTL) for FHB severity were identified by association mapping. Of these, nine QTL were identified in the combined set comprising both genebank and breeding sets, while two QTL each were identified in the breeding set and genebank set, respectively, when analyzed separately. Some QTLs overlapped between the three datasets. The results reveal that the protocol for FHB evaluation integrating accelerated growth conditions is an efficient approach for FHB resistance breeding in winter wheat and can be even applied to spring wheat after minor modifications.


Fusarium head blight; winter wheat; speed breeding; accelerated growth conditions; genome-wide association study; disease resistance

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2021, Volume: 12, article number: 705006