Biotech Updates

ICAR NBPGR Unearths Genetic Potential of Wheat Germplasm

January 11, 2017

The National Bureau on Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has conducted a gigantic field evaluation study of 19,460 wheat accessions conserved in the Indian National Genebank to identify sources of rust and spot blotch resistance. Three wheat species, Triticum aestivum, T. durum, and T. dicoccum were screened sequentially at multiple disease hotspots during the 2011-2014 crop seasons, carrying only resistant accessions to the next step of evaluation. Of 19,460 wheat accessions, the NBPGR identified 498 accessions potentially resistant to multiple rusts, and 868 accessions potentially resistant to spot blotch. The screening was conducted in Wellington (Tamil Nadu), a hotspot for wheat rust; Gurdaspur (Punjab), a hotspot for stripe rust; and Cooch Behar (West Bengal), a hotspot for spot blotch.

Results of the study reaffirmed that as many as 244 bread wheat and 253 durum wheat accessions conserved in the Indian Genebank were either resistant or moderately resistant to stripe rust pathotypes occurring across two hotspots. The results also showed the possibility of identifying sources of diverse genes for partial resistance against stripe rust as well as sources of slow rusting genes against the rapidly evolving rust pathogens. Marker-based screening indicated ample genetic diversity of resistant genes among wheat germplasm.

The results of this study are reported in an open access paper published in PLOS One. For more details, contact Dr. Kailash Bansal at