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Conference abstract2008

The use of the rye genome to improve weed competitive ability in winter wheat

Bertholdsson, Nils-Ove


Problems with weeds are much less in rye (Secale cereale L.) or Triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack) than in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Both rye and Triticale start to growth much earlier in spring than wheat and therefore they may compete better with the weeds. This is probably not the whole truth, however. It is a well known fact that straw residuals of rye are more active than those from wheat in inhibiting weed growth in the following crop. Although rye develops early a dense stand, later on it is not very dense and yet there is very little weed growth. Allelochemicals may therefore be active either from the straw or the root. A source for high allelopathic activity could thus be the rye genome. Luckily genes from rye can be incorporated in the wheat genome without using gene transformation and this opens a possibility to improve allelopathy in wheat without using any controversial methods (Hysing, 2007). Until now it is only the rye chromosome 1RS (s=short arm) that has been used in wheat breeding. Other chromosomes that are tolerated in wheat are 5R and 7R, but root growth is decreased. The 4R is the least viable, but with less effect on root growth (Oracka and Lapinski, 2005). At the Department of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology we have wheat-rye translocations- and addition lines with different combinations of the whole or part of each of the rye chromosomes. The material is originally developed as sources for disease resistance (Hysing, 2007) and is now used for selection of wheat with high allelopathic activity. Initially some field studies are also done with modern winter wheat cultivars to study the differences in weed competitive ability and how this ability is divided between competitive and allelopathic factors. The project started a year ago and the field data are so far limited. Preliminary methodological studies also revealed that the allelopathy bioassay with rye grass as receiver plants may not be effective to detect allelopathy traits from the rye genome. Contrarily to expected wheat and rye showed similar allelopathic activity against rye grass. Several di-cotelydons were instead studied as potential receiver plants. Of these white mustard (Sinapis alba L) was found to be most inhibited by the presence of rye instead of wheat and thus further used in the selection work. The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) is acknowledged for funding this research


Allelopathy; wheat; weed competition

Published in


The joint WG4-EWRS meeting

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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