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Genetic and transcriptional dissection of resistance to Claviceps purpurea in the durum wheat cultivar Greenshank

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McCartney, Curt 
Knox, Ron E. 
Ereful, Nelzo 
Hiebert, Colin W. 


Abstract: Key message: Four QTL for ergot resistance (causal pathogen Claviceps purpurea) have been identified in the durum wheat cultivar Greenshank. Abstract: Claviceps purpurea is a pathogen of grasses that infects flowers, replacing the seed with an ergot sclerotium. Ergot presents a significant problem to rye, barley and wheat, in particular hybrid seed production systems. In addition, there is evidence that the highly toxic alkaloids that accumulate within sclerotia can cross-contaminate otherwise healthy grain. Host resistance to C. purpurea is rare, few resistance loci having been identified. In this study, four ergot resistance loci are located on chromosomes 1B, 2A, 5A and 5B in the durum wheat cv. Greenshank. Ergot resistance was assessed through analysis of phenotypes associated with C. purpurea infection, namely the number of inoculated flowers that produced sclerotia, or resulted in ovary death but no sclerotia, the levels of honeydew produced, total sclerotia weight and average sclerotia weight and size per spike. Ergot testing was undertaken in Canada and the UK. A major effect QTL, QCp.aafc.DH-2A, was detected in both the Canadian and UK experiments and had a significant effect on honeydew production levels. QCp.aafc.DH-5B had the biggest influence on total sclerotia weight per spike. QCp.aafc.DH-1B was only detected in the Canadian experiments and QCp.aafc.DH-5A in the UK experiment. An RNASeq analysis, undertaken to identify wheat differentially expressed genes associated with different combinations of the four ergot resistance QTL, revealed a disproportionate number of DEGs locating to the QCp.aafc.DH-1B, QCp.aafc.DH-2A and QCp.aafc.DH-5B QTL intervals.


Funder: Canadian Seed Growers' Association; doi:

Funder: National Research Council of Canada: Canadian Wheat Improvement program


Original Article

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Theoretical and Applied Genetics

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/G020418/1)