Maximising the potential of Aegilops ventricosa introgression for Pch1 eyespot resistance and increased grain protein in wheat

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office


Eyespot is a damaging disease that affects the stem base of cereals. A potent resistance (termed Pch1) was transferred into wheat from a wild relative by conventional crossing. The piece of DNA that carries Pch1 also leads to an increase in the protein content of grain but unfortunately, the large piece of DNA that was introduced also causes a reduction in yield making it unattractive for breeders to use. It has proven very difficult to break up the introduced DNA from the wild relative to separate the negative yield penalising part from the parts conferring eyespot resistance and increased grain protein.
This project is employing a number of strategies to break up the introduced DNA segment and separate the three traits (eyespot resistance, yield loss and grain protein content). We have narrowed down the region carrying Pch1 to a relatively small number of genes and are using different genetic approaches to identify and clone the gene responsible.
We are collaborating plant breeding companies who are undertaking field yield trials and grain protein assays with our new wheat materials to identify the regions on the original transferred DNA segment that are responsible for the increased grain protein content and reduced yield. It is anticipated that we will produce molecular markers to enable plant breeders to to produce wheat varieties that have increased eyespot resistance carried by Pch1 along with increased grain protein content but that do not suffer from the reduced yield.


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