The overall goal of this public-private partnership is to improve wheat productivity by reducing losses due to plant disease in conventional and organic farming systems and the dependence of fungicide sprays in general. Part of the solution is the implementation of EU Directive 2009/128/EC (“IPM directive”), which may be a major challenge at the private farm level unless high-yielding, resistant crop varieties are available. This project will utilize two different strategies for developing disease resistant wheat:

  • Multi-parent advanced generation inter-cross (MAGIC) and
  • Nested association mapping (NAM).

Both strategies have the advantage of relying on a higher number of recombinations than biparental crosses and allowing both linkage and association mapping to be conducted without encountering the limitation of population structure.

We will explore genetic resources, which in preliminary tests have shown resistance to Zymoseptoria triticia , Fusarium spp., Blumeria graminis and Puccinia striiformis.

An improved system for resistance phenotyping at pathogen isolate, race and species levels, which is a major bottleneck in resistance breeding and research, will be developed. We will also phenotype for resistance to P. triticina and P. graminis using a new point inoculation methodology where the level of inoculum can be quantified precisely.

P. graminis (stem rust) at epidemic levels was reported in 2015 and 2016 in Russia and in 2016 in Sicily on wheat for the first time in more than 50 years.

Resistance to Pyrenophora tritici-repentis and Parastagonospora nodorum will be phenotyped using a toxin assays.

New phenotyping methods using microscopy will be applied on new multi-resistant wheat lines emerging from the project in order to assess and evaluate resistance mechanisms and expected ‘durability’ of identified resistance.


The project is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark

Duration: 2015-2020. Research Education: 2 ph.d. and 2 postdocs