Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. David A. Van Sanford


Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused by Fusarium graminearum Schwabe [telomorph: Gibberella zeae Schwein.(Petch)], is recognized as one of the most destructive diseases of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. and T. durum L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) worldwide. Breeding for FHB resistance must be accompanied by selection for desirable agronomic traits. Donor parents with two FHB resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) Fhb1 (chromosome 3BS) and QFhs.nau-2DL (chromosome 2DL) were crossed to four adapted SRW wheat lines to generate backcross and forward cross progeny. F2 individuals were genotyped and assigned to 4 different groups according to presence/ absence of one or both QTL. The effectiveness of these QTL in reducing FHB in F2 derived lines was assessed in a misted, inoculated scab nursery. Resistance alleles and the interaction among FHB resistance QTL have distinct behavior in different genetic backgrounds in wheat. Fhb1 showed an average disease reduction of 12%, however it did not result in significant improvement of FHB resistance in all populations. In general, for the four backgrounds studied, the QFhs.nau-2DL QTL as more effective reducing FHB (19% average reduction). The combination of Fhb1 and QFhs.nau-2DL is not necessary, but recommended and it improved resistance in all populations. Backcross derived (BC) progeny from four genetic backgrounds were planted in replicated plots (2011 and 2012) and in the scab nursery in 2012. Population 2 had its progeny characterized by 961 DArT markers distributed throughout the genome. Several high-quality polymorphic markers were identified and listed as good predictors of phenotypic traits like disease resistance, and improved agronomic and quality characteristics. Backcross and forward cross derived progenies were tested for FHB resistance and agronomic and baking quality performance for 4 different populations sharing the same donor parent for resistance QTL. The results confirmed that F2 populations were effective indicators of expression levels of QTL prior to extensive backcrossing. The QTL Fhb1 and QFhs.nau-2DL increased FHB resistance without detriments on agronomic and quality traits on wheat populations investigated. BC populations were assessed as breeding populations and established as being rewarding tools for derivation of inbred lines in a breeding program, being BC2 the most recommended from our results.