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Genomic Tools for Pest Resistant Wheat

Rust diseases and wheat midge pests can cause significant yield losses for producers. As part of the Canadian Wheat Alliance, scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are developing new genomic tools for developing rust and midge resistant wheat. By working with DNA markers linked to rust and midge resistance genes, the scientists can detect multiple pest resistance in a wheat line. This greatly enhances the development of new wheat cultivars with these traits. Without the use of DNA markers, it is difficult or impossible to detect multiple pest resistance.

After identifying genes for leaf rust resistance, midge resistance, and to stem rust (including Ug99, a highly destructive strain that is not yet in Canada), Canadian scientists are developing cost effective, breeder friendly DNA markers for these genes. DNA markers for rust resistant genes have already been provided to Canadian wheat breeding programs, the markers for midge resistance will follow shortly. Further improvements in DNA markers will be possible once they are sequenced and will benefit Canadian producers with pest resistant, higher quality wheat.

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