Meta-analysis of the genetics of resistance to Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol accumulation in barley and considerations for breeding

Ahmad H. Sallam, Matthew Haas, Yadong Huang, Zenith Tandukar, Gary Muehlbauer, Kevin P. Smith, Brian J. Steffenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fusarium head blight (FHB) or scab is a devastating disease of barley that severely reduces the yield and quality of the grain. Additionally, mycotoxins produced by the causal Fusarium species can contaminate harvested grain, resulting in food safety concerns and further economic losses. In the Upper Midwest region of the United States, Fusarium graminearum is the primary causal agent, and deoxynivalenol (DON) is the main mycotoxin associated with Fusarium infection. Deployment of resistant cultivars is an important component of an integrated strategy to manage this disease. Unfortunately, few good sources of FHB resistance have been identified from the evaluation of large collections of Hordeum germplasm. Over the past 25 years, many barley mapping populations have been developed with selected resistance sources to identify the number, chromosomal position and allelic effect of quantitative trait loci (QTL) contributing to FHB resistance and DON accumulation. To consolidate the genetic data generated from 14 mapping studies that included 22 bi- or tri-parental mapping populations and three genome-wide association (GWAS) mapping panels, a consensus map was constructed that includes 4145 SNP, SSR, RFLP and AFLP markers. A meta-analysis based on this consensus map revealed 96 QTL for FHB resistance and 57 for DON accumulation scattered across the barley genome. Many of the QTL explained a low percentage (<10%) of variation for the traits and were often found significant in only one or a few environments in multi-year/multi-location field trials. Moreover, many of the FHB/DON QTL mapped to chromosomal positions coincided with various agro-morphological traits that could influence the level of disease (e.g. heading date, height, spike density, and spike angle), raising the important question of whether the former are true resistance factors or are simply the result of pleiotropy with the latter. Considering the magnitude of effect, consistency of detection across environments and independence from agro-morphological traits, only three of 96 QTL for FHB and five of 57 QTL for DON were considered priority targets for marker-assisted selection (MAS). In spite of the challenge for having a limited number of useful QTL for breeding, genomic selection holds promise for increasing the efficiency of developing FHB-resistant barley cultivars, an essential component of the overall management strategy for the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPlant Breeding
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the United States Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative (Agreement No. 59‐0206‐6‐006); American Malting Barley Association; Lieberman–Okinow Endowment at the University of Minnesota; and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch project (#MIN‐22‐085). Funding information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Plant Breeding published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • QTL mapping
  • consensus map
  • genomic selection
  • marker-assisted selection
  • mycotoxin


Dive into the research topics of 'Meta-analysis of the genetics of resistance to Fusarium head blight and deoxynivalenol accumulation in barley and considerations for breeding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this