Inheritance of Fusarium head blight resistance in the soft red winter wheat Ernie. Academic Article uri icon


  • Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium graminearum Schwabe [telomorph:Gibberella zeae Schw. (Petch)], is an increasingly important disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Host-plant resistance is considered to be the most economical means of control, but a lack of unique sources of resistance has hindered efforts to breed resistant varieties. The soft red winter wheat, Ernie, has moderately high FHB resistance and is widely used in U.S. breeding programs; however, the genetics of resistance have not been studied. The objectives of this study were to estimate the genetic effects, gene numbers, and heritability for traits related to FHB resistance in Ernie through generation means analyses and variance analyses of 243 F3-derived F8 and F9 recombinant inbred lines (RILs). Replicated experiments were grown in the greenhouse, inoculated with F. graminearum, and evaluated for disease spread and the FHB index (FHBI). The latter was calculated as the percentage of diseased spikelets in inoculated spikes and is often referred to as type-II resistance. Gene action for both disease spread and FHBI was primarily additive with partial dominance for low disease. Broad-sense heritabilities for spread and FHBI were 78.2% and 78.3%, respectively, while the narrow-sense heritabilities were 51.3% and 55.4%, respectively. Line-mean heritabilities from analyses of variance of RILs were 0.70 and 0.87 for spread and FHBI, respectively. A minimum of four genes conditioned both disease spread and FHBI. These results suggest that breeders should be able to enhance FHB resistance by combining the resistance in Ernie with other complementary additive sources of resistance.

published proceedings

  • Theor Appl Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, S., Abate, Z. A., & McKendry, A. L.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Liu, S||Abate, ZA||McKendry, AL

publication date

  • January 2005