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Open Access Research article

Association of single nucleotide polymorphic sites in candidate genes with aggressiveness and deoxynivalenol production in Fusarium graminearum causing wheat head blight

Firas Talas13, Tobias Würschum1, Jochen C Reif1, Heiko K Parzies2 and Thomas Miedaner1*

Author Affiliations

1 Universitaet Hohenheim, State Plant Breeding Institute (720), Fruwirthstr. 21, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

2 Universitaet Hohenheim (350), Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science & Population Genetics, Fruwirthstr. 21, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany

3 National Commission of Biotechnology (NCBT), P. O. Box. 31902, Damascus, Syria

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BMC Genetics 2012, 13:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-13-14

Published: 12 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Fusarium graminearum sensu stricto (s.s.) is an ubiquitous pathogen of cereals. The economic impact of Fusarium head blight (FHB) is characterized by crop losses and mycotoxin contamination. Our objective was to associate SNP diversity within candidate genes with phenotypic traits. A total of 77 F. graminearum s.s. isolates was tested for severity of fungal infection (= aggressiveness) and deoxynivalenol (DON) production in an inoculated field experiment at two locations in each of two years. For seven genes known to control fungal growth (MetAP1, Erf2) or DON production (TRI1, TRI5, TRI6 TRI10 and TRI14) single nucleotides polymorphic sites (SNPs) were determined and evaluated for the extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD). Associations of SNPs with both phenotypic traits were tested using linear mixed models.

Results

Decay of LD was in most instances fast. Two neighboring SNPs in MetAP1 and one SNP in Erf2 were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with aggressiveness explaining proportions of genotypic variance (pG) of 25.6%, 0.5%, and 13.1%, respectively. One SNP in TRI1 was significantly associated with DON production (pG = 4.4).

Conclusions

We argue that using the published sequence information of Fusarium graminearum as a template to amplify comparative sequence parts of candidate genes is an effective method to detect quantitative trait loci. Our findings underline the potential of candidate gene association mapping approaches to identify functional SNPs underlying aggressiveness and DON production for F. graminearum s.s populations.

Keywords:
Aggressiveness; Association mapping; DON; Fusarium graminearum; FHB; Linkage disequilibrium; QTL; Triticum aestivum; SNP