CLOSED FOR GOOD: The development of wheat varieties with enhanced disease resistance

  • Poster Presentation
  • Poster 22 (Flash Talk: 11 Jun 2018 17:11)
  • Foyer, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Sirui Pan*
University College Dublin

Rainer Melzer
University College Dublin

*Presenting Author

In recent years, many genetic approaches have been used to enhance wheat resistance to floral diseases, especially fusarium head blight (FHB). Many of those approaches are using genes that encode resistance proteins to prevent the plant getting infected by pathogens. However, alterations in flower morphology may also contribute to reducing the plant disease load. Floral disease pathogens usually directly infect floral organs, especially pistils and stamens. Regarding that, a closed flower morphology, which is known as cleistogamy, can form a natural barrier to prevent the infection. The genetics of cleistogamy in rice is well understood, it is caused by mutations in a MADS-box AP3-like gene which encodes a transcription factor. In rice AP3 mutants, the development of lodicules is significantly repressed. Lodicules have a critical role during flower opening, they swell and push the lemma and palea apart to expose the reproductive organs. We are studying wheat AP3-like genes to infer the conservation of the gene regulatory programme controlling lodicule development in grasses. This study will potentially enable us to generate cleistogamous wheat flowers, which may contribute to an enhanced disease resistance in wheat.