Characterization of Genetic Resistance to Fusarium Head Blight and Bacterial Leaf Streak in Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium)

Prabin Bajgain, Xiaofei Zhang, M. Kathryn Turner, Rebecca D. Curland, Brett Heim, Ruth Dill-Macky, Carol A. Ishimaru, James A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Intermediate wheatgrass (IWG, Thinopyrum intermedium, (Host) Barkworth & D.R. Dewey subsp. intermedium, 2n = 6x = 42) is a novel perennial crop currently undergoing domestication efforts. It offers remarkable ecosystem services and yields higher relative to other perennial grain crops. While IWG is mostly resistant to Fusarium head blight (FHB), identifying genomic regions associated with resistance will help protect the crop from potential disease epidemics. An IWG biparental population of 108 individuals was developed by crossing parents differing in their response to FHB and bacterial leaf streak (BLS). The population was screened for disease reaction over three years using isolates collected from IWG plants in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Linkage maps representing the 21 IWG chromosomes were constructed from 4622 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers, with one SNP at every 0.74 cM. Interval mapping identified 15 quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with FHB resistance and 11 with BLS resistance. Models with two or three QTL combinations reduced FHB disease severity by up to 15%, and BLS by up to 17%. When markers associated with FHB resistance were used as cofactors in genomic selection models, trait predictive ability improved by 24–125%. These genomic regions and genetic markers associated with FHB and BLS resistance can also be used to safeguard annual cereal grains through gene introgression and selective breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number429
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project was supported by the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s AGRI Crop Research Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Bacterial leaf streak
  • Crop domestication
  • Disease resistance mapping
  • Fusarium head blight
  • Intermediate wheatgrass
  • QTL


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