The QTL Fhb1was successfully introgressed and validated in three durum wheat populations. The novel germplasm and the QTL detected will support improvement of Fusarium resistance in durum wheat.
Durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) is particularly susceptible to Fusarium head blight (FHB) and breeding for resistance is hampered by limited genetic variation within this species. To date, resistant sources are mainly available in a few wild relative tetraploid wheat accessions. In this study, the effect of the well-known hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) quantitative trait locus (QTL) Fhb1 was assessed for the first time in durum wheat. Three F7-RIL mapping populations of about 100 lines were developed from crosses between the durum wheat experimental line DBC-480, which carries an Fhb1 introgression from Sumai-3, and the European T. durum cultivars Karur, Durobonus and SZD1029K. The RILs were evaluated in field experiments for FHB resistance in three seasons using spray inoculation and genotyped with SSR as well as genotyping-by-sequencing markers. QTL associated with FHB resistance were identified on chromosome arms 2BL, 3BS, 4AL, 4BS, 5AL and 6AS at which the resistant parent DBC-480 contributed the positive alleles. The QTL on 3BS was detected in all three populations centered at the Fhb1 interval. The Rht-B1 locus governing plant height was found to have a strong effect in modulating FHB severity in all populations. The negative effect of the semi-dwarf allele Rht-B1b on FHB resistance was compensated by combining with Fhb1 and additional resistance QTL. The successful deployment of Fhb1 in T. durum was further substantiated by assessing type 2 resistance in one population. The efficient introgression of Fhb1 represents a significant step forward for enhancing FHB resistance in durum wheat.