Genetic variation for fusarium crown rot tolerance in durum wheat
Tolerance to the cereal disease Fusarium crown rot (FCR) was investigated in a set of 34 durum wheat genotypes, with Suntop, (bread wheat) and EGA Bellaroi (durum) as tolerant and intolerant controls, in a series of replicated field trials over four years with inoculated (FCR-i) and non-inoculated (FCR-n) plots of the genotypes. The genotypes included conventional durum lines and lines derived from crossing durum with 2–49, a bread wheat genotype with the highest level of partial resistance to FCR. A split plot trial design was chosen to optimize the efficiency for the prediction of FCR tolerance for each genotype. A multi-environment trial (MET) analysis was undertaken which indicated that there was good repeatability of FCR tolerance across years. Based on an FCR tolerance index, Suntop was the most tolerant genotype and EGA Bellaroi was very intolerant, but some durum wheats had FCR tolerance indices which were comparable to Suntop. These included some conventional durum genotypes, V101030, TD1702, V11TD013*3X-63 and DBA Bindaroi, as well as genotypes from crosses with 2–49 (V114916 and V114942). The correlation between FCR tolerance and FCR-n yield predictions was moderately negative indicating it could be somewhat difficult to develop FCR-tolerant genotypes that are high yielding under low disease pressure. However, FCR tolerance showed a positive correlation with FCR-i yield predictions in seasons of high disease expression indicating it could be possible to screen for FCR tolerance using only FCR-i treatments. These results are the first demonstration of genetic diversity in durum germplasm for FCR tolerance and they provide a basis for breeding for this trait.
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Grains Research and Development Corporation