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.