Genetic architecture of fusarium head blight disease resistance and associated traits in Nordic spring wheat

Vinay Kumar Reddy Nannuru, Susanne S. Windju, Tatiana Belova, Jon Arne Dieseth, Muath Alsheikh, Yanhong Dong, Curt A. McCartney, Maria Antonia Henriques, Hermann Buerstmayr, Sebastian Michel, Theodorus H.E. Meuwissen, Morten Lillemo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study identified a significant number of QTL that are associated with FHB disease resistance in NMBU spring wheat panel by conducting genome-wide association study. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a widely known devastating disease of wheat caused by Fusarium graminearum and other Fusarium species. FHB resistance is quantitative, highly complex and divided into several resistance types. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) that are effective against several of the resistance types give valuable contributions to resistance breeding. A spring wheat panel of 300 cultivars and breeding lines of Nordic and exotic origins was tested in artificially inoculated field trials and subjected to visual FHB assessment in the years 2013-2015, 2019 and 2020. Deoxynivalenol (DON) content was measured on harvested grain samples, and anther extrusion (AE) was assessed in separate trials. Principal component analysis based on 35 and 25 K SNP arrays revealed the existence of two subgroups, dividing the panel into European and exotic lines. We employed a genome-wide association study to detect QTL associated with FHB traits and identify marker-trait associations that consistently influenced FHB resistance. A total of thirteen QTL were identified showing consistent effects across FHB resistance traits and environments. Haplotype analysis revealed a highly significant QTL on 7A, Qfhb.nmbu.7A.2, which was further validated on an independent set of breeding lines. Breeder-friendly KASP markers were developed for this QTL that can be used in marker-assisted selection. The lines in the wheat panel harbored from zero to five resistance alleles, and allele stacking showed that resistance can be significantly increased by combining several of these resistance alleles. This information enhances breeders´ possibilities for genomic prediction and to breed cultivars with improved FHB resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2263
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Norwegian University of Life Sciences. This work was mainly funded by the ERA–NET CoFund SusCrop (Grant N°771134) project WheatSustain with support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 771134 and national funding for this study from the Research Council of Norway (NFR Grant 299615), “Bundesministerium für Nachhaltigkeit und Tourismus Österreich” (Forschungsprojekt No. 101402), the Genome Canada project CTAG2 and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership administered by the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition. Additional funds for the present study were received from NFR Grant 199387 and Graminor.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Disease Resistance/genetics
  • Fusarium
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Plant Breeding
  • Plant Diseases/genetics
  • Triticum/genetics

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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