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Reduced fusarium ear blight and mycotoxins through improved resistance (REFAM) - LK0932

The REFAM project aims to identify and characterise both the best available and new sources of resistance to FEB and toxin accumulation in wheat. This approach will facilitate long-term progress in the scientific study of resistance to the disease and toxin accumulation and enable the development of efficient marker assisted selection (MAS) procedures within breeding programmes of the companies that are partners in this application.
11.1 Scientific objective(s)
The specific objectives of the REFAM project are:
1) To determine and characterise the best sources of FEB/toxin resistance available to UK wheat breeders and to identify new sources of resistance to disease and toxin accumulation.
2) Establish the relationship between disease, grain damage, fungal biomass and mycotoxin accumulation.
3) To use quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis to determine the number and chromosome location of FEB/toxin resistance genes and quantify the contribution of each gene to the overall FEB resistance level.
4) Determine whether resistance to toxin producing FEB species is also effective against non-toxin producing species.
5) Establish the relative FEB resistance levels of current UK barley varieties and the relationship between disease symptoms and mycotoxin accumulation.
6) Identify the contribution of flowering characteristics to FEB/toxin resistance
7) Identify molecular markers tightly linked to major FEB/toxin resistance loci.

11.2 Interdependence of objectives
Objectives 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 are not inter-dependent in terms of the chance of a successful outcome. Objective 3 and 7 are interdependent as QTL analysis requires the use of molecular markers that are polymorphic between the parents. In turn, the identification of those molecular markers that are tightly linked to FEB/toxin resistance is dependent upon the identification of QTL that are related to the molecular markers. Objectives 1, 2 and 4 are not interdependent but will involve the use of similar techniques.

11.3 Chances of achieving objectives
The John Innes Centre is at the forefront of research into FEB with a long-standing and active research programme on the genetics of resistance and fungicidal control of FEB. Methods of inoculating and promoting FEB disease development have been established by all three research partners as well as some of the breeding companies. Techniques and experiences will be compared to ensure the successful achieving of objectives 1,2, 4, and 5.
Objective 3 requires adequate polymorphism between resistant and susceptible parents to mapping populations to permit the production of molecular maps on which to perform QTL analysis. In turn this will relate to the ability to identify molecular markers tightly linked to FEB/toxin resistance (objective 7). The level of polymorphism among adapted wheat varieties is sufficient for the development of genetic maps with adequate coverage of the genome to permit the achievement of objectives 3 and 7. The success of objectives 3 and 7 in identifying resistance that may be of potential use in breeding programmes will rely upon the resistance of particular varieties being due to a few genes of large effect rather than many genes of small effect. The experience from our own studies and those of other researchers from across the world is that the former is most likely to be the case. Thus objective 3 and, thus ultimately, objective 7 are achievable.
Objective 6 will require that parental lines involved in mapping studies also differ for some, or all, of the traits related to flowering characteristics. Suitable populations for this purpose already exist within the JIC and participating breeding companies.

11.4 Factors, specific to the project, which might delay achieving the objective(s)
Potential factors that might delay work would be failure of disease development within trials. Because most trials will be replicated to assess environmental effects, failure at a single site should not compromise the ability to achieve any particular objective. Identification of parental materials, or previously developed populations, will be required to achieve objectives related to QTL analysis and molecular marker studies. However, as preliminary work has identified potential parents and populations this is unlikely to be a problem.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2007

Cost: £238,068
Contractor / Funded Organisations
John Innes Centre (BBSRC), RHM Group Ltd, Advanta, Elsoms Seeds Ltd, National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Nickerson UK Ltd, Central Science Laboratory, Monsanto UK Ltd, Home Grown Cereals Authority
Arable Farming              
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Fields of Study
Arable Crops