Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Identify Wheat Genetically Resistant to Fungus Causing Snow Mold

November 16, 2022

Scientists from six research institutions in Russia led by RUDN University have identified wheat genotypes resistant to the dangerous fungal pathogen Microdochium nivale that infects plants before the snow melts and reduces yields.

M. nivale infects crops, causing snow mold. After the snow melts, a web-like mold of the fungus appears on the leaves of winter crops. The leaves die off, and if the lesion is too great, then the whole plant dies, along with the root. To prevent the death of crops and at the same time not use chemical treatments, varieties resistant to the fungus are needed.

Wheat varieties that are resistant to snow mold were discovered in the plant genetic resources collection of the Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic Resources. This collection contains up to 1,085 samples from each year's crops. The researchers took data for 15 years (1978-2021) and found infected samples in 10 of them. They also found 12 genotypes in the collection resistant to snow mold. The researchers also identified the factors contributing to the disease's development. They analyzed the weather conditions in the 15-year study and found that abiotic factors weakened the plants' immunity, which affected their ability to cope with the pathogen.

For more details, read the article in News Wise.

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