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Researchers Develop Durum Line to Help Fight Fusarium

New line of durum wheat available for researchers is a step towards creating scab-resistant durum.

A new germplasm line of durum wheat is available geneticists and researchers to use in the fight against the fungus Fusarium graminearum, which causes scab disease.

The new line, DGE-1, is not meant for use by farmers, but rather for scientists and geneticists aiming to develop scab-resistant durum cultivars. DGE-1 heads have shown considerably lower infection in studies than in a standard durum cultivar - 21% infection in DGE-1 compared to 80% in the Langdon cultivar.

Durum cultivars today contain little to no resistance to scab, also known as Fusarium head blight. DGE-1 has a pair of chromosomes from a wild grass, the wheatgrass Lophopyrum elongatum, which is almost immune to scab. Prem Juahar, a geneticist at the Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center in North Dakota, led studies showing that the pair of wheatgrass chromosomes in DGE-1 will carry over when propagated from seed.

U.S. durum growers produced 101 million bushels in 2006.

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