Whole genome association mapping of Fusarium head blight resistance in European winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57500. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057500. Epub 2013 Feb 22.


A total of 358 recent European winter wheat varieties plus 14 spring wheat varieties were evaluated for resistance to Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum in four separate environments. The FHB scores based on FHB incidence (Type I resistance)×FHB severity (Type II resistance) indicated a wide phenotypic variation of the varieties with BLUE (best linear unbiased estimation) values ranging from 0.07 to 33.67. Genotyping with 732 microsatellite markers resulted in 782 loci of which 620 were placed on the ITMI map. The resulting average marker distance of 6.8 cM allowed genome wide association mapping employing a mixed model. Though no clear population structure was discovered, a kinship matrix was used for stratification. A total of 794 significant (-log10(p)-value≥3.0) associations between SSR-loci and environment-specific FHB scores or BLUE values were detected, which included 323 SSR alleles. For FHB incidence and FHB severity a total of 861 and 877 individual marker-trait associations (MTA) were detected, respectively. Associations for both traits co-located with FHB score in most cases. Consistent associations detected in three or more environments were found on all chromosomes except chromosome 6B, and with the highest number of MTA on chromosome 5B. The dependence of the number of favourable and unfavourable alleles within a variety to the respective FHB scores indicated an additive effect of favourable and unfavourable alleles, i.e. genotypes with more favourable or less unfavourable alleles tended to show greater resistance to FHB. Assessment of a marker specific for the dwarfing gene Rht-D1 resulted in strong effects. The results provide a prerequisite for designing genome wide breeding strategies for FHB resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Breeding / methods
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • Fusarium*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Genotype
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Triticum / genetics*
  • Triticum / microbiology*

Grant support

This research was conducted within the frame of the project GABI-Wheat (project No. 0315067) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.