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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Identification, Characterization, and Development of Insect-Resistant Wheat, Barley, and Sorghum Germplasm

Location: Wheat, Peanut and Other Field Crops Research

Project Number: 6217-21000-008-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 01, 2013
End Date: Feb 28, 2018

Objective:
The long-term objective of this project is to provide wheat, barley, and sorghum producers with new pest resistant crops and technologies that will protect their crops from insect pests. Specifically, during the next five years we will focus on the following objectives. Objective 1: Identify new sources of resistance to aphids and other insects in wheat, barley, sorghum, and related species. Subobjective 1A. Evaluate available germplasm resources (national germplasm collections and accessible exotic resources) to identify new sources resistant to insect pests [Russian wheat aphid (RWA), greenbug (GB), and bird cherry-oat aphid (BCOA)] in wheat, barley, sorghum, and related species. Subobjective 1B. Define a visual rating scale for use in greenhouse screening of wheat and barley seedlings for identification of BCOA resistance. Subobjective 1C. Determine the field resistance of barley lines which exhibit a unique visual plant response to RWA feeding as seedlings in the greenhouse which is not clearly assigned to a resistance level by Webster's scale of 1 - 9. Objective 2: Characterize the mechanisms and genetics of new sources of aphid resistance in wheat, barley, and sorghum. Subobjective 2.A. Develop and evaluate genetic populations to determine the genetic control of host resistance to GB, RWA, and BCOA in barley. Subobjective 2.B. Develop and evaluate genetic populations to determine levels of genetic diversity of host resistance to GB, RWA, and BCOA in wheat, barley, and sorghum. Subobjective 2.C. Develop and identify molecular markers to facilitate identification of resistance QTLs and cloning of the resistance gene(s), and to aid selection of breeding lines through marker-assisted selection. Subobjective 2.D. Conduct functional genomics studies on host response to GB attack, leading to advanced understanding of the defense mechanisms in the hosts and discovery of genes and factors that affect host defense against insect pests (i.e., GB) in sorghum and related species. Objective 3: Develop improved germplasm of wheat, barley, and sorghum incorporating new sources of insect resistance and other desired traits into elite, adapted backgrounds for the United States. Subobjective 3.A. Develop high performance wheat, barley, and sorghum germplasm with enhanced resistance to GB, RWA, or BCOA, and release to the public. Subobjective 3.B. Develop genetically improved barley and sorghum cultivars and hybrids for use as feedstocks for bioethanol, animal feed, and forage-grazing potential under expanded growth conditions.

Approach:
The long-term goal of this project is to provide wheat, barley, and sorghum producers with new pest resistant crops and technologies that will protect their crops from insect pests. To accomplish the research objectives, the project will search available germplasm collections to find new, effective sources of resistance to virulent aphid pests, including Russian wheat aphid (RWA), greenbug (GB), and bird cherry-oat aphid (BCOA). The genetic diversity and genetic control of resistance in these crops will be characterized using genetic and genomic approaches, leading to advanced understanding of the defense mechanisms in the hosts and discovery of genes and factors that regulate host defense against insect pests. The identified resistance genes will be transferred into elite, adapted genetic backgrounds. Plant genotyping will be conducted to map aphid resistance genes to the crop chromosomes and to develop molecular markers for marker-assisted selection to facilitate the breeding process. The research team of the project will work closely with collaborating plant breeding programs to obtain elite breeding lines to use as parents in backcrossing procedures to transfer aphid resistance and other value-added (e.g., enhanced ethanol production) traits. The genetically improved germplasm will be field-tested for agronomic and quality performance prior to release. The project will provide testing and selecting support to assure these desirable genes move through the various breeding programs on their way to the producers via cultivar and hybrid releases.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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