Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wheat: Genetic discovery to keep crops disease-free

Date:
February 10, 2014
Source:
Curtin University
Summary:
Researchers have found a way to breed disease-resistant wheat with no downside, potentially bringing multi-million dollar savings to Australia's agricultural industry.

According to John Curtin Distinguished Professor Richard Oliver, Director of the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens (ACNFP) at Curtin, farmers can lose more than 0.35 tonnes per hectare in wheat yields to Yellow Spot, even after applying fungicide.

Related Articles


For an average-sized farm of 4000 hectares, this could mean an almost $500,000 loss to disease per year -- or about $212 million worth of damage to the wider Australian agricultural industry.

Funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation, Professor Oliver and his team, in conjunction with independent research provider Kalyx Australia, have demonstrated that by taking away disease-sensitivity genes from the wheat germplasm, pathogens find it difficult to latch onto wheat and cause damage.

"Our finding will help breeders produce crops in which disease losses are 60 to 80 per cent lower, and would be a real win for farmers -- they will often be able to avoid using foliar fungicides," Professor Oliver said.

"Before now, breeding for resistance to Yellow (Tan) Spot and Septoria Nodorum Blotch was very time-consuming -- no molecular markers were in use. The key has been to supply breeders with specific proteins (we call them effectors) that the fungi use to cause disease.

"For the first time, our technology allows for a steady and sustained improvement in disease resistance without affecting the farmer's pocket.

"Furthermore, breeders are able to devote more time and resources to breeding for yield, as well as for rust and frost resistance."

Using large wheat variety trials provided by Kalyx Australia, the team looked at yield loss of different cultivars (plants chosen for breeding because of desirable characteristics) when subjected to natural disease and stress pressures in the WA wheatbelt.

They compared cultivars with disease-sensitivity genes to cultivars that lacked these particular genes, and were able to show that the cultivars lacking the gene showed no yield loss and in some instances increased yields in the presence of disease.

From this, the team were able to conclude if a sensitivity gene was eliminated, there would be minimal associated risks and it would be a safe and straightforward strategy for improving disease resistance.

Professor Oliver said this research had never been done before as direct mapping for disease resistance had not led to useful molecular markers.

"Previously geneticists would infect plants that were progeny of crosses between relatively resistant and relatively susceptible parents before doing the QTL (quantitative disease-resistance gene) mapping. But as disease resistance is multifactorial due to the several effector reactions, the QTL mapping was always a bit fuzzy and was therefore never passed on," Professor Oliver said.

"Our research looks directly at the loci that recognise the pathogens, which can be readily identified using a process we developed earlier, thereby bypassing the need for QTL mapping."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Curtin University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Oliver, J. Lichtenzveig, K.-C. Tan, O. Waters, K. Rybak, J. Lawrence, T. Friesen, P. Burgess. Absence of detectable yield penalty associated with insensitivity to Pleosporales necrotrophic effectors in wheat grown in the West Australian wheat belt. Plant Pathology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/ppa.12191

Cite This Page:

Curtin University. "Wheat: Genetic discovery to keep crops disease-free." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210095404.htm>.
Curtin University. (2014, February 10). Wheat: Genetic discovery to keep crops disease-free. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210095404.htm
Curtin University. "Wheat: Genetic discovery to keep crops disease-free." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210095404.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods for a Longer Life

The Best Foods for a Longer Life

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) When it comes to maintaining health in our later years, eating right and fueling our bodies with nutritious food is key. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) highlights the best foods for a longer life. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins