BBSRC-Embrapa Genomics and pathogenomics to improve FHB and brusone resistance in Brazilian wheat

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Crop Genetics

Abstract

Project team
The project team combines research leaders with complementary expertise in both the wheat host and the FHB and brusone fungal pathogens in Brazil and the UK. Pedro Scheeren (Embrapa) and Eduardo Caierao (Embrapa) have unrivalled knowledge of Brazilian wheat production, providing expertise in wheat breeding alongside knowledge of germplasm resistance status that is essential for genome wide association scans to be undertaken to identify genomic regions associated with resistance to FHB and brusone. Cristobal Uauy (JIC) is internationally recognised for his expertise in wheat genetics and gene cloning in cereals. CU collaborates closely with Ksenia Krasileva (TGAC/TSL) who leads the development of functional genomics tools in wheat, including the development of exome-capture platforms that will form one of the pillars of the project. Paul Nicholson (JIC) leads a research group investigating the genetic basis of resistance to FHB in cereals and will contribute to both host and pathogen components in the project in partnership with Flávio Santana and Maria Imaculada Moreira Lima (Embrapa), who lead research on FHB resistance. James Cockram (NIAB) has extensive experience in combining molecular genetics and genomics with statistical techniques to investigate complex traits in wheat. These skills will be used in collaboration with Luciano Consoli (Embrapa) who leads the quantitative genetics programme, to undertake association mapping of target traits in Brazilian wheat germplasm. James Cockram will provide training to Embrapa personnel to enable them to undertake additional analyses on FHB and brusone data as these become available.
Joao Leodato (Embrapa) is a recognised expert on brusone disease and will work alongside Gisele Torres (Embrapa) who has extensive experience of working with the Brusone pathogen and interactions with the wheat host using functional genomics analysis. Antonio Nhani Jr (Embrapa) employs genomics to investigate virulence and hostspecificity in the brusone pathogen. The skills and knowledge provided by Embrapa researchers will be complemented those of Nick Talbot (University of Exeter) who is internationally recognised for his expertise in the genetics and virulence of the brusone fungus. Diane Saunders (TGAC/JIC) leads research into pathogen populations and virulence, providing essential insight into the structure of the populations of the FHB and brusone pathogens that will be utilised within studies of the genetics of host resistance.

Resources and Infrastructure
In addition to the highly complementary skill sets of the Embrapa and UK participants, the organisations contribute complementary resources and infrastructure. Embrapa has excellent field trials facilities and trained personnel across Brazil in regions where the environment is most conducive to the FHB and brusone diseases enabling them to undertake high quality disease trials. The Embrapa site at Passo Fundo is exceptionally well equipped with laboratory, computing infrastructure, glasshouse and plant growth facilities in an environment that enables the rapid growth of plants to minimise generation time and ensure efficient development of plant populations to the required level of fixation for genotyping and phenotyping purposes. The UK partners within this project (JIC, TGAC, NIAB and Exeter) all have extensive laboratory, computational and plant growth facilities, required for the host and pathogen genetics and genomics components of the project. In addition, TGAC has state of the art genome sequencing and transcriptional profiling facilities and computer hardware and software to undertake the associated data processing and analysis.

Technical Summary

N/A

Planned Impact

Fusarium head blight (FHB) and brusone diseases are devastating wheat production in Brazil. FHB caused yield losses of more than 60% in Rio Grande do Sul State in 2014, in addition to contaminating grain with harmful mycotoxins.

Brusone caused losses of more than 80% for some farmers in 2014 and risk of this disease also prevents the development of the Cerrado region for wheat cultivation. UK expertise and cutting edge technologies in host and pathogen genetics and genomics will combine with knowledge and expertise of Brazilian partners to develop tools, plant resources and knowledge to enable Brazilian plant breeders to produce resistant varieties and reduce crop losses.

The team brought together within this project includes internationally recognised experts in their fields to address and counter these major threats to wheat production in Brazil.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Analysis of wheat varieties in Brazil reveal that different breeders are using genetically distinct materials. Crossing lines from the different breeding programmes could enhance important traits such as disease resistance by combining positive elements form the different materials
Exploitation Route Wheat breeders in Brazil can increase diversity by sharing the use of lines from their programmes
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description UK Global Food Security Science Advisory Board
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/
 
Description Limagrain 
Organisation Limagrain
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Genetics and genomics
Collaborator Contribution Germplasm and breeder know-how
Impact Phd Studentship, field trails, among others
Start Year 2009
 
Description Limagrain wheat blast 
Organisation Limagrain
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution knowledge on genetics of wheat blast resistance
Collaborator Contribution germplasm
Impact iCASE studentship funded
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Passo Fundo 
Organisation The University of Passo Fundo
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution information on genetic basis of resistance to wheat blast
Collaborator Contribution information on research tools and data relating to specific resistances
Impact student secondment to my laboratory for nine months
Start Year 2017
 
Description AHDB Fusarium ratings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I was invited to act an expert/consultant in Fusarium head blight (FHB) to provide guidance to AHDB on the appropriate testing systems and assessment systems required for determining the FHB resistance ratings for UK wheat varieties that enter the Recommended List.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Bangladesh wheat blast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion with primary Bangladesh wheat researcher on wheat blast resistance
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Discussion Norman Lamb, MP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussion Norman Lamb, MP
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Discussion with Gov Office Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussion with Gov Office Science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description European Fusarium Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over 200 delegates from across the globe attended the meeting. My presentation sparked many questions and further discussions on the implications of our findings for improving the resistance of wheat to FHB and reducing the risk of mycotoxins accumulating in grain and posing a threat to consumers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Fusarium head blight RAGT 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The potential of increasing resistance to Fusarium head blight by eliminating susceptibility factors rather than the conventional approach of introducing resistance factors was discussed at length. This approach stimulated much interest as a means to tackle a disease where there is a paucity of effecive resistance
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description JIC Open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact JIC Open Day
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Limagrain wheat blast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of knowledge on genetics of wheat blast which led to Limagrain supporting an iCASE PhD studentship application (successful)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Rachel Lambert, Senior Livelihoods Adviser, Agriculture Research DFID 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Rachel Lambert, Senior Livelihoods Adviser, Agriculture Research DFID
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School teacher education 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The activity involved a presentation and discussion with school teachers on the importance and relevance of plant disease in a historical and current context. The activity is aimed at providing teachers who are not experts in plant pathology to effectively provide all the relevant information required within the A-level curriculum to their students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description school visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Delivery of the plant disease and host disease resistance components of the A level curriculum to A'level students. This was delivered alongside a presentation on the impact of plant disease on human civilisation throughout history and efforts to combat disease through plant breeding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018