Items from the United States - Washington.






Departments of Crop & Soil Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.

M.K. Walker-Simmons, L.D. Holappa, Todd Linscott, Benjamin Rangel, John Ray, Ryan Wagner, Camille M. Steber, Janice M. Zale, Kimberly Garland Campbell, John A. Pritchett, Lynn M. Little, R.E. Allan, Roland F. Line, Xianming Chen, Ramon Cu, Zhixin Shi, C.F. Morris, A.D. Bettge, H.C. Jeffers, G.E. King, B. Patterson, D.A. Engle, M. Baldridge, B. Davis, R. Ader, T. Demeke, and M.C. Simeone.


Increasing cold hardiness and preharvest sprouting resistance in wheat.

M.K. Walker-Simmons, L.D. Holappa, Todd Linscott, Benjamin Rangel, John Ray, and Ryan Wagner.

Cold hardiness. A crown-freezing simulation test (LT50 tests) has been developed that can differentiate cold hardy and nonhardy Pacific Northwest wheat cultivars. Over 37,000 plants in the club wheat breeding project have been freeze tested, and results are being used as selection criteria to increase cold hardiness.

Vrn and Fr1 genes. A project is in progress to determine the effect of the Fr1-Vrn1 interval and candidate genes for cold hardiness in wheat. Recombinant-inbred lines (Norstar/Centurk) have been advanced to the F7. Potential markers linked to the Fr1-Vrn1 interval are being evaluated in combination with cold hardiness evaluation of the RILs. The effect of four vernalization genes on cold hardiness has been evaluated in NILs that differ for Vrn1, Vrn2, Vrn3, and Vrn4 and growth habit (spring or winter). The NILs were developed by Robert E. Allan. Spring NILs with either Vrn2, Vrn3, or Vrn4 had a significantly greater levels of cold hardiness compared to NILs for Vrn1.

Signal transduction and protein kinases. A wheat protein kinase that suppresses gene expression of sprouting-damage enzymes (alpha-amylase and protease) has been identified. This kinase is called PKABA1 and was cloned from dormant wheat seed embryos. The kinase transcript is ABA-responsive and expressed when wheat seed sprouting is blocked by ABA. DNA constructs that permit continuous expression of PKABA1, even in the absence of the natural hormone, ABA, were developed. In collaboration with D. H.-T. Ho, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, we demonstrated that constitutive expression of PKABA1 drastically suppresses gene expressions of both a-amylase and protease genes. These results indicate that PKABA1 acts as a key intermediate in the ABA signal transduction pathway leading to the suppression of GA-inducible gene expression in cereal aleurone layers.

Wheat seed proteins and role in desiccation tolerance. Heat-soluble proteins extracted from desiccation-tolerant, dormant, wheat seeds have been demonstrated to improve survival and function of turkey sperm during storage.



  • Gomez-Cadenas A, Verhey SD, Holappa LD, Ho T-HD, and Walker-Simmons MK. 1999. An abscisic acid-induced protein kinase, PKABA1, mediates abscisic acid-suppressed gene expression in barley aleurone layers. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:1767-1772.
  • Donoghue AM and Walker-Simmons MK. 1999. The influence of wheat dehydration-induced proteins on the function of turkey spermatozoa after 24 hours in vitro storage. Poultry Sci 78:235-241.
  • Ray J, Linscott T, Allan RE, and Walker-Simmons MK. 2000. Impact of Vrn 1, 2, 3, and 4 genes on cold hardiness in a near-isogenic wheat background. PAF VIII, Abstract P216.
  • Walker-Simmons MK. 2000. Recent advances in ABA-regulated gene expression in cereal seeds: evidence for regulation by PKABA1 protein kinase. In: Seed Biology: Advances and Applications (Black M, Bradford KJ, and Vazquez-Ramos J eds). CAB International, Wallingford, U.K. pp. 271-276.
  • Walker-Simmons MK, Rose PA, Hogge LR, and Abrams SR. 2000. Abscisic acid immunoassay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry verification. In: Plant Hormones, Methods in Molecular Biology Series (Roberts J and Tucker G eds). Humana Press, Inc. Totowa, NJ. (In press).


Ac-Ds transposon system.

Camille M. Steber and Janice M. Zale.

Dr. Janice Zale in the laboratory of Camille Steber will be designing an Ac-Ds transposon system for activation tagging of wheat genes. She will transforming this system into hexaploid wheat to provide a tool for gene cloning.


ARS breeding and genetics program.

Kimberly Garland Campbell, John A. Pritchett, and Lynn M. Little.

Washington wheat growers planted 1.9 million acres of winter wheat in 1999 (down from 2.2 million in 1998). Common white was planted on 1,590,000 acres, and white club was planted on 142,000 acres. The rest of the winter acreage was planted to HRWW. Madsen and Eltan were the dominant common white cultivars, and Rely had the largest club acreage. The average yield of winter wheat in Washington in 1999 was 58.0 bu/acre, down from 65 in 1998. Most of the yield damage probably occurred from winter kill. Stripe rust was mild in 1999.

The objectives of the ARS breeding and genetics program are:

    1. to develop improved club wheat cultivars for the PNW;
    2. to develop wheat germ plasm with better emergence; improved end-use quality; resistance to stripe, leaf, and stem rusts; and resistance to soilborne disease associated with conservation tillage; and
    3. to coördinate the Western Regional Nurseries.

To that end, in 1999, 432 crosses were made in the greenhouse, 498 F2 and F3 populations and 16,460 head rows were evaluated visually at Pullman, 850 F4 entries were evaluated in unreplicated yield plots, and 384 entries were evaluated in replicated yield trials at multiple locations in Washington and Oregon. Locations included Central Ferry, Connell, Fairfield, Hartline, Harrington, Lind, Pomeroy, Pullman, Ritzville, St. John, and Walla Walla, WA, plus Lexington, Hermiston, Moro, and Pendleton, OR. Separate disease nurseries were established for foot rot, Cephalosporium stripe, and stripe rust. The WSU winter wheat breeding program and the WSU variety testing program assisted in the planting and harvest of several nurseries.

Twenty-three entries were evaluated in the Western Regional Hard Winter Wheat Nursery, 36 entries in the Western Regional Soft Winter Wheat Nursery, and 39 in the Western Regional Spring Wheat Nursery. The complete report for agronomic data is available at on the web through the GrainGenes gopher at gopher://

Regional selections. Five entries were sent to the 2000 regional nurseries, three club and three common soft white wheats. 93CL0081 (Tres/VPM) and 95CL0156 (Maris Huntsman/Tres), both originally from the Pendleton club wheat breeding program, and A96246 (Tres/Capelle Desprez//Hyak composite/Hyak composite) are soft white clubs. A96105, a reselection from WA7690 (VPM/M951/Yamhill/Hyslop//Hill81///Maris Huntsman/VH745521), and A96277, a reselection from WA7810 (Stephens//Madsen/Lewjain) are soft white common wheats. A96105 has good emergence characteristics in both coleoptile and deep-seeding field trials (Table 1).

Table 1. Emergence characteristics of advanced breeding lines. A - indicates that the entry was not included in the test.
   Entry   Seedling growth   Emergence from
 Coleoptile length (mm)  Length of first leaf (mm)  13 days after planting (%)  26 days after planting (%)
 Moro  67  134  -  -
 A96105  58  120  23.0  28.6
 A99165  -  -  15.6  27.0
 Edwin  55  99  18.6  25.6
 A96343  -  -  13.3  19.6
 A98116  -  -  11.3  17.0
 WA7853  52  108  7.3  15.6
 A99176  -  -  4.0  11.3
 A96185  52  103  8.3  11.0
 Eltan  -  -  4.0  9.6
 A98251  53  86  2.3  7.3
 Temple  52  97  1.3  6.0
 96CL0136  49  85  0.0  6.0
 97CL0082  -  -  1.0  5.6
 Coda  51  97  1.6  5.3
 A98143  -  -  3.0  3.6
 Mean  57.9  97.9  7.6  13.3
 L.S.D.      15.02  14.3


Personnel changes.

The ARS wheat breeding and genetics program was managed long distance by Jim Anderson with the excellent assistance of Lynn Little and John Pritchett. Kim Garland Campbell arrived as the new breeder in July. Scott McDonald was hired by Oregon State University at the Columbia Basin Research Center in Pendleton, OR, to assist with the ARS breeding program in Oregon.



  • Campbell KG, Bergman CJ, Gualberto DG, Anderson JA, Giroux MJ, Hareland G, Fulcher RG, Sorrells ME, and Finney PL. 1999. Quantitative trait loci associated with kernel traits in a soft x hard wheat cross. Crop Sci 39:1184-1195.
  • Waldron BL, Moreno-Sevilla B, Anderson JA, Stack RW, and Frohberg RC. 1999. RFLP mapping of QTL for Fusarium head blight resistance in wheat. Crop Sci 39:805-811.


Interaction of genes for awn expression and semidwarfism.

R.E. Allan.

Awnless and awned of NILs of the Rht1 and Rht2 semidwarf genes affected some agronomic traits differently than awnless and awned sibs lacking the Rht1 and Rht2 genes. The study involved NILs derived from a 'Norin 10/Brevor 14//7*Brevor' population. Brevor is an awnless non-semidwarf (rht1rht2) SWWW that occurs in many pedigrees of U.S. and CIMMYT wheats. 'Norin 10/Brevor 14 (CI13253)' is an awned semidwarf (Rht1Rht2) SRWW that has been used extensively in northwestern U.S. wheat breeding programs and elsewhere.

Awnless and awned pairs of NILs with Rht1Rht2, Rht1rht2, rht1Rht2, and rht1rht2 were grown in six tests, and nine agronomic traits were measured. When averaged across tests, awnless and awned, non-semidwarf (rht1rht2) NILs differed for test weight and plant height; both traits were greater for awnless NILs than their awned counterparts. Awned and awnless pairs of the three semidwarf genotypes differed for two or three traits. Awned Rht1Rht2 and rht1Rht2 NILs had heavier test weights and kernel weights than their awnless types, but the awnless Rht1Rht2 NIL had greater harvest index than its awned type. The awned NIL of Rht1rht2 had greater tiller number and percent lodging than its awnless sib.

Most semidwarf cultivars have either Rht1 or Rht2. Regardless of awn expression, Rht1rht2 NILs had greater test weights, plant height, and lodging percent than rht1Rht2 NILs. Conversely, both awnless and awned rht1Rht2 NILs had greater kernels/spike and harvest index than their Rht1rht2 NILS. Awned Rht1rht2 NILs had an advantage in tiller number over awned rht1Rht2 NILs, whereas awned rht1Rht2 NILs had heavier kernel weight than awned Rht1rht2 NILs.

For the most part, awns had either neutral or positive effects upon semidwarf Brevor NILs, although they had either neutral or negative effects upon non-semidwarf Brevor NILs. Awns enhanced test weight, kernel weight, and tiller number for one or two of the three semidwarf genotypes. Similar comparisons are planned between awn expression and semidwarfism in several other genetic backgrounds.



  • Peterson CJ Jr, Morris CF, Line RF, Donaldson E, Jones SS, and Allan RE. 1999. Registration of Hiller Wheat. Crop Sci 39:1531-1532.


Control of rusts and smuts in the western United States, 1999.

Roland F. Line, Xianming Chen, Ramon Cu, and Zhixin Shi.

Predictive models and monitoring data were used to accurately forecast wheat stripe rust for the 21st consecutive year and leaf rust and stem rust for the 17th consecutive year. Stripe rust continues to be the most important wheat disease in Washington. Leaf rust is the second most important disease. In northwestern Washington, the fall, winter, and spring environments were highly favorable for establishment, survival, and increase of stripe rust, and when not controlled, losses exceeded 20 %. In eastern Washington and Oregon and northern Idaho, weather during the autumn was favorable for stripe rust and leaf rust, but cold weather in early December and dry weather in the spring were unfavorable for increase and spread of the two rusts. Dry weather in June and July prevented development of stem rust. Consequently, damage from stripe rust was minimal, and damage from leaf rust and stem rust was insignificant. The effects of the rusts on 32 winter wheat cultivars at sites near Walla Walla and Pullman, WA, were determined by comparing untreated plots with plots sprayed with Folicur to control foliar diseases. The most susceptible cultivars were slightly damaged by stripe rust. Leaf rust and stem rust did not reduce yields in 1999.

Stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust, and other wheat diseases are monitored annually in the western U.S. to determine their distribution, prevalence, and severity and to determine the vulnerability of cultivars to local races of the pathogens. Barley stripe rust, which was introduced into North America from Europe by way of South America and Mexico in 1991, has spread north and west from Texas. The disease, now indigenous in the western U.S., has significantly impacted barley yields in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington. We have clearly determined by pathogenicity and RAPD analysis that the wheat stripe rust pathogen is different from the barley and grass stripe rust pathogens. The wheat stripe rust pathogen, which attacks primarily wheat and triticale, can attack some barley and rye cultivars, and the barley stripe rust pathogen, which attacks primarily barley, can attack some wheat, triticale, and rye cultivars. The bluegrass and orchard grass pathogens are not pathogenic on wheat, barley, triticale, or rye. At least 60 wheat stripe rust races and 50 barley stripe rust races have been detected in North America. In 1999, the most prevalent wheat stripe rust races were those that were virulent on Moro, Tres, Hatton, Weston, Westbred 470, Express, and Vanna; on seedlings of Stephens and Madsen; and on cultivars developed in regions of the U.S. where stripe rust does not normally occur. No new leaf rust or stem rust races were detected in the western U.S. Powdery mildew, common bunt, flag smut, and dwarf bunt each caused losses in the western U.S. that were less than 0.1 %.

Each year, we evaluate a new group of entries from the National Small Grain Germplasm (NSGG) collection at Aberdeen, ID, for high-temperature, adult-plant (HTAP) resistance to stripe rust in environmentally different field plots at Mount Vernon and Pullman, WA, and for seedling resistance to selected stripe rust races that include all of the virulences that have been identified in North America. That information is added to their database. Also, cultivars and breeding lines developed by public and private breeders in the western United States are evaluated annually in field plots at multiple sites for resistance to stripe rust and other diseases. In 1999, more than 1,200 wheat cultivars and lines from the NSGG collection and 1,000 spring wheat and winter wheat cultivars and advanced lines from public and private wheat were evaluated. New lines with resistance to the rusts were identified, and cultivars with superior resistance were released.

High-temperature, adult-plant resistance continues to be the most effective and durable type of stripe rust resistance. Currently, most of the major soft white winter wheat cultivars and spring wheat cultivars grown in the western United States have HTAP resistance, and their resistance has remained durable against all North American races of stripe rust. In regions where stripe rust occurs, HTAP resistance has annually prevented severe losses. Multiline club wheat cultivars developed in the northwestern U.S. for stripe rust resistance also have remained durable. Research on identification of genes for stripe rust resistance continues.

We recently developed a technique for detecting molecular markers for resistance genes that is referred to as Resistance Gene Analog Polymorphism (RGAP). The RGAP technique is faster and more efficient, consistent, and reliable than other techniques. The RGAP technique was used to develop molecular markers for HTAP stripe rust resistance and to screen NILs with specific genes for seedling resistance to stripe rust. Molecular markers associated with HTAP resistance genes in Stephens and resistant F7 progeny from crosses with Stephens show possibilities as tools for identifying plants with HTAP resistance. A cluster of three HTAP resistant genes was mapped in a linkage group consisting of 10 RGAP markers. We identified 3, 4, 2, 1, 30, 17, 2, 6, 8, and 5 unique markers for seedling resistance genes YrA, Yr1, Yr5, Yr7, Yr8, Yr9, Yr10, Yr15, Yr17, and Yr18, respectively. Of 16 markers for Yr9, four were directly associated with and 12 were closely linked to the gene. To determine whether the markers are present in other cultivars reported to have Yr9, six wheat cultivars that were reported to have Yr9 and two rye cultivars (the source of Yr9) were tested for resistance to specific races of the stripe rust pathogen and for presence of the markers. Five of the six wheat cultivars and the two rye cultivars had Yr9 resistance and the associated markers. One cultivar, Weique, did not have resistance to one of the races and did not have the markers indicating that Weique does not have Yr9. The location of the markers on chromosome 1BL also was confirmed. Some markers had DNA sequences similar to disease resistance genes in rice. A probe derived from a Yr9 marker has the same kinase-gene pattern as a probe for the leaf rust-resistance gene Lr10. This may aid in understanding how resistance works. The results of these and other studies showed that the RGAP technique can be used to develop specific markers for both seedling and HTAP resistance genes, to transfer the resistance genes to adapted wheat genotypes, and to identify the presence of resistance genes in progeny and existing cultivars. The markers are being used to select for a combination of Yr5, Yr8, Yr9, and Yr15, which are the most effective genes for seedling resistance, and to aid in crossing the selected plants with HTAP resistant plants, such as the cultivar Stephens, in order to combine the durable, HTAP resistance with seedling resistance. Selecting for the markers associated with the HTAP resistance genes should be easier and faster than selecting for HTAP resistance by field testing advanced generations of large populations and will be especially valuable in transferring HTAP resistance into club wheat types.

We annually evaluate seed treatments and foliar fungicides for control of stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust, common bunt, flag smut, dwarf bunt, and other diseases. In 1999, foliar fungicides were evaluated for control of the rusts in winter and spring wheat plots near Mt Vernon, Walla Walla, and Pullman, WA. Foliar applications of Folicur, Tilt, Quadris, or Stratego controlled stripe rust and protected the crop for about 1 month. Protection from the boot to the milk stage of plant growth prevented most losses.

A computerized, expert system for predicting and managing rusts and other diseases of wheat referred to by the acronym MoreCrop (Managerial Options for Reasonable Economical Control of Rusts and Other Pathogens) was developed in 1993. MoreCrop predicted the diseases that should be problems based on geographical regions; agronomic zones; crop managerial practices (crop rotation, tillage methods, irrigation, planting date, and fertilizers use); cultivar characteristics; prevailing weather; crop history; and disease history. The program provided information, options, and suggestions for managing the diseases and a library with information about the diseases. Changes in hardware and software from 1993-98 provided an opportunity to upgrade MoreCrop utilizing new computer technology. MoreCrop version 2.0 was released in 1999. New features included enhancement of crop managerial selections, improvement of data management for cultivars, more flexible use of fungicides, more diseases, and high-resolution images of the diseases. New wheat classes and cultivars were added. A powerful database was incorporated into the cultivar information. Data on cultivar characteristics can be updated, and an infinite number of cultivars can be included. Cultivars can easily be added or deleted. Use of fungicides was made flexible to allow for updating the chemical information, and new fungicides or fungicides with an emergency label can be included in the disease control program. Specific rotation options were added. Planting dates were linked to calendar dates, and a planting depth option was added. The disease outcome was expanded to include 30 diseases. The disease-control suggestion was expanded so that the inference engine could search from an array of more than a one-billion possible disease combinations. The high-resolution images of wheat diseases were linked to the disease outcome. Also, a system for forecasting and managing barley diseases was developed using the concepts used to develop MoreCrop 2.0 for wheat. MoreCrop 2.0 for wheat and MoreCrop 1.0 for barley are now available on the Internet at


Personnel changes.

Dr. Roland F. Line, Research Plant Pathologist, retired 31 December, 1999, after 36 years of federal service. Dr. Line served with the Wheat Genetics Unit and the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University. He worked on the control of rusts and smuts of wheat and implemented a control program that reduced flag smut to a minor disease and saved farmers millions of dollars. He developed a rust monitoring program that provided early warning to breeders and growers to enable them to take action to prevent major losses. Since 1979, Dr. Line has used predictive models and monitoring data to forecast wheat stripe, leaf, and stem rust, and more recently, barley stripe rust. His computerized expert systems for predicting and managing wheat and barley diseases (MoreCrop for wheat and MoreCrop for barley) are available on the internet http://pnw-ag.wsu/morecrop/ and are used by both growers and scientists. Dr. Line will continue to provide valuable advice on cereal disease control as an ARS collaborator.



  • Chen XM and Line RF. 1999. Recessive genes for resistance to races of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei in barley. Phytopathology 89:226-232.
  • Chen XM, Hayes PM, Toojinda T, Vivar H, Kudrna D, Kleinhofs A, and Line RF. 1999. Resistance gene analog polymorphism (RGAP) and other molecular markers associated with barley genes for multiple disease resistance. PAGVII Abstracts p. 189.
  • Chen XM, Line RF, and Hayes PM. 1999. Genetics and molecular mapping of barley genes for resistance to stripe rust. In: Proc 16th Amer Barley Researchers Workshop, 11-15 July, 1999, Idaho Falls. p. 29.
  • Chen XM, Line RF, Hayes PM, Toojinda T, Vivar H, Kleinhofs A, and Kudrna D. 1999. Mapping barley genes for resistance to stripe rust, leaf rust, and scab using resistance gene analog polymorphism and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Phytopathology 89:S15.
  • Chen XM and Line RF. 2000. Developing molecular markers for quantitative trait loci conferring durable, high-temperature, adult-plant resistance in wheat to stripe rust with resistance gene analog polymorphism. PAGVIII Abstracts.
  • Hayes PM, Chen XM, Corey A, Johnston M, Kleinhofs A, Korte J, Line RF, Toojinda T, and Vivar H. 1999. A summary of barley stripe rust mapping efforts. PAGVII Abstracts p. 179.
  • Kidwell KK, Shelton GS, Morris CF, Line RF, Miller BC, Davis MA, and Konzak CF. 1999. Registration of 'Scarlet' Wheat. Crop Sci 39:1255.
  • Line RF, Chen XM, and Shi ZX. 1999. Control of rusts and smuts in the western United States, 1998. Ann Wheat Newslet 45:285-288.
  • Line RF, Chen XM, and Shi ZX. 1999. Genetics of wheat resistance to stripe rust. Technique Report 99-1, Cooperative Extension, Washington State University. pp. 63-65.
  • Line RF and Chen XM. 1999. Control and epidemiology of barley stripe rust in North America. In: Proc 16th Amer Barley Researchers Workshop, 11-15 July, 1999, Idaho Falls, ID. p. 24
  • Line RF and Chen XM. 1999. Genetics of resistance to stripe rust and molecular mapping of disease resistance genes in barley. Technique Report 99-1, Cooperative Extension, Washington State University. pp. 66-68.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of stripe rust of spring barley with foliar fungicides, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:299-301.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of stripe rust of winter barley with foliar fungicides, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:303.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of stripe rust and stem rust of spring wheat with foliar fungicides, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:316.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of stripe rust, leaf rust, and stem rust of winter wheat in eastern Washington with foliar fungicides, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:320-323.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of stripe rust and leaf rust of winter wheat in southeastern Washington with foliar fungicides, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:324-327.
  • Line RF. 1999. Use of foliar fungicides to assess winter wheat yield losses caused by stripe rust, leaf rust, and stem rust in eastern Washington, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:328-330.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of flag smut of wheat with seed treatments, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:367.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of dwarf bunt of wheat with seed treatments, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:368.
  • Line RF. 1999. Control of common bunt of wheat with seed treatments, 1998. Fungicide and Nematicide Tests 54:369.
  • Shi ZX, Chen XM, Leung H, Wellings C, and Line RF. 1999. Co-segregation of resistance gene analog polymorphism (RGAP) markers with Yr9, a wheat gene for stripe rust resistance. PAGVII Abstracts p. 189.
  • Shi ZX, Chen XM, Leung H, Wellings C, and Line RF. 2000. Molecular markers associated with Yr9, a gene for wheat stripe rust resistance that originated from rye. PAGVIII Abstracts.
  • Toojinda T, Chen XM, Hayes P, Kleinhofs A, Korte J, Kudrna D, Line RF, and Vivar H. 1999. Locus specificity of resistance gene analog polymorphism in barley. PAGVII Abstracts p. 179.
  • Toojinda T, Baird E, Broers L, Chen XM, Hayes PM, Kleinhofs A, Korte J, Kudrna D, Leung H, Line RF, Powell W, and Vivar H. 1999. Mapping qualitative and quantitative disease resistance genes in a doubled haploid population of barley. Theor Appl Genet (in press).
  • Yildirim A, Jones SS, Murray TD, and Line RF. 2000. Evaluation of Dasypyrum villosum populations for resistance to cereal eyespot and stripe rust pathogens. Plant Dis 84:4-44.


USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory.

Wheat endosperm texture.

C.F. Morris, H.C. Jeffers, A.D. Bettge, D.A. Engle, M. Baldridge, B. Patterson, R. Ader, and T. Demeke (ARS); G.E. King, B. Davis, and M.C. Simeone (WSU).

We have shown recently that wheat endosperm texture (soft or hard) results from positive genetic control by the hardness locus (Ha) on chromosome 5DS; a complex locus coding for puroindoline-a and puroindoline-b, collectively known as friabilin. In the wild type, both puroindolines are normal (functional), resulting in soft wheat. To produce hard wheat, one or the other puroindoline is nonfunctional. We now have characterized seven unique hardness alleles in hexaploid wheats. A set of NILs differing in grain hardness has been released and is being registered.


Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and Asian noodle discoloration.

We have developed laboratory scale alkaline noodle tests to assist in screening potential cultivars for suitability in Asian noodle applications. The test uses 100-g flour and an alkaline salt solution to produce noodle sheets that are analyzed for color; especially the L* value (of the L*a*b* scale) at 0 and 24 hr after noodle production. The results provide information about the degree of discoloration in noodles brought about by PPO.

Additionally, a buffered L-DOPA test for rapid, small-scale assessment of PPO in single kernels has been developed. This test affords rapid (about 1 hr), nondestructive assessment of PPO content at early generations of wheat breeding programs and will assist breeders in producing low PPO wheat for use in Asian style noodles. Research on isolating PPO clones and mapping LDOPA activity are underway.

Noting that two current cultivars, Daws and Centennial, have bimodal distribution of PPO content, we have used the L-DOPA PPO assay to physically separate low from high PPO kernels and are in the process of increasing the low PPO kernels as potential re-released improved cultivars.


Starch quality.

We have developed an RIL population from Kanto 107 and Bai Huo. The material is being used in research to compare the contribution of waxy alleles to starch properties. Confirmed waxy, D-null Bai Huo germ plasm was registered and released. One hard and one soft full-waxy germ plasm were released and are being registered.


Cultivar development program.

Our cultivar development program screened over 8,000 experimental breeding lines for milling and baking quality and provided the results to wheat breeders for use in their programs.

The WWQL-led PNW Wheat Quality Council held a forum to discuss potential new cultivars and the comments and concerns about wheat quality issues. The forum in Honolulu, HI, was attended by people representing growers, researchers, breeders, marketers, and end-users.


Personnel changes.

Morten Lillemo, from the Agricultural University of Norway completed a 9-month study leave to conduct research on puroindoline effects on hardness in Northern European wheats. Dr. Marco Simeone of the University of Tuscany, Viterbo, Italy, joined the WWQL as a postdoctoral research associate to study the relationships between puroindoline gene sequence and function in grain hardness. Prof. Hak-Gil Chang, Department of Food and Bioengineering, Kyungwon University, Sungnam, South Korea, has joined the lab to spend a 1-year sabbatical working on grain quality research.



  • Bettge AD, Giroux MJ, and Morris CF. 1999. Waxy starch granules are more susceptible to mechanical damage than normal starch. In: 1999 Program Book, 84th AACC Ann Meeting. p. 243.
  • Bettge AD and Morris CF. 2000. Relationships among grain hardness, pentosan fractions and end-use quality of wheat. Cereal Chem 77:in press.
  • Carter BP, Morris CF, and Anderson JA. 1999. Optimizing the SDS sedimentation test for end-use quality selection in a soft white and club wheat breeding program. Cereal Chem 76:907911.
  • Demeke T and Morris CF. 1999. Molecular characterization of wheat polyphenol oxidase. Agron Abstr:161.
  • Kidwell KK, Shelton GS, Morris CF, Line RF, Miller BC, Davis MA, and Konzak CF. 1999. Registration of 'Scarlet' wheat. Crop Sci 39:1255.
  • Lillemo M and Morris CF. 2000. A leucine to proline mutation in puroindoline b is frequently present in hard wheats from Northern Europe. Theor Appl Genet (in press).
  • Morris CF, DeMacon VL, and Giroux MJ. 1999. Wheat grain hardness among chromosome 5D homozygous recombinant substitution lines using different methods of measurement. Cereal Chem 76:249-254.
  • Morris CF, Giroux MJ, and Lillemo M. 1999. Puroindolines: the molecular-genetic basis for wheat grain hardness. In: 1999 Program Book, 84th AACC Ann Meeting. p. 147.
  • Morris CF, Jeffers HC, and Engle DE. 2000. Effect of processing, formula and measurement variables on alkaline noodle color-toward an optimized laboratory system. Cereal Chem 77:7785.
  • Morris CF and Konzak CF. 2000. Registration of D-null 'Bai Huo' waxy wheat germplasm. Crop Sci 40:304-305.
  • Peterson CJ Jr, Morris CF, Line RF, Donaldson E, Jones SS, and Allan RE. 1999. Registration of 'Hiller' wheat. Crop Sci 39:1531-1532.




Spring Wheat Breeding and Genetics Program, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 201 Johnson Hall, Pullman, WA 99164-6420, USA.

Spring wheat breeding and genetics.

K. Kidwell, G. Shelton, V. DeMacon, B. Barrett, J. Smith, and M. Bayram.

The overall goal of wheat breeding efforts at WSU is to enhance the economic and environmental health of wheat production in the Pacific Northwest by releasing genetically superior varieties for commercial production. Traditional breeding methods and molecular genetic technology are combined to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of variety improvement efforts. Progress has been made towards developing PCR-based tags for genes associated with RWA resistance, spring growth habit (Vrn-B1), and a chromosomal segment from T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides that is associated with a 1-2 % increase in grain protein content. Research efforts have been initiated to identify potential gene donors for Rhizoctonia resistance among Ae. tauschii accessions and other wild relatives of wheat.


Variety development.

K. Kidwell, G. Shelton, and V. DeMacon.

Over 500 crosses were made in 1999, and more than 30,000 experimental breeding lines and released varieties of soft white, hard red, hard white, or spring club wheats were evaluated in field trials at 1 to 15 locations in eastern Washington, depending on seed availability. The F1 seed from 508 lines was increased to generate segregating progenies for use in conventional breeding strategies, MAS, and gene-linkage analyses. Approximately 288 F2 and 368 F3 families were advanced to the next generation, and 3,243 entries among 29,170 F4 and 1,010 F5 head rows were selected, based on stripe rust reaction and phenotype, for early generation end-use quality assessment. Following phenotypic selection, grain from selected head rows (2,834) was evaluated visually for plumpness. Selections with sound grain were separated by market class, then entries from each market class were subjected to a specific assessment strategies depending on end-use goals. Grain protein content and grain hardness were determined on whole grain flour using the Technicon (NIR). Microsedimentation (microsed) and flour-swelling volume (FSV) were used to assess protein and starch quality, respectively, of selected lines. Polyphenol oxidase levels also were determined for soft white and hard white material to assess noodle color potential before selecting lines to advance to 2000 field trials. Grain samples from 812 experimental lines with superior agronomic performance were sent to the USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory (Pullman, WA) for milling and baking evaluations.

Hessian fly resistance. Six novel (H5, H11, H13, H22, H25, and H26) Hessian fly-resistance genes have been transferred into adapted spring wheat germ plasms for all four market classes of spring wheat grown in the region. Following field evaluation of 127 resistant lines in single-plot yield trials in Pullman in 1999, 76 (20 soft and 56 hard) high-yielding lines were submitted to the WWQL for end-use quality assessment. Entries with superior end-use quality will be evaluated in replicated, multilocation yield trials in 2000.

Russian wheat aphid. Five unique RWA-resistance genes have been incorporated into elite spring wheat germ plasms from the PNW. Over 600 resistant head rows were evaluated in the field in Pullman in 1999. Based on phenotypic selection for plant type, maturity, and stripe rust reaction, and 115 were selected for advancement to single-plot yield trials in the year 2000.

Variety releases. The soft white experimental line WA7850, tentatively named Zak, will be released in 2000 as the Wawawai and/or Alpowa replacement. Zak has excellent grain yield potential and outstanding end-use quality properties. Zak is stripe rust resistant and has intermediate resistance to the Hessian fly. Foundation seed of Zak will be produced in 2000. The PVP status of Zak is pending.

The experimental line WA7824, tentatively named Tara, will be released in 2000 as the replacement for Westbred 926, the primary HRSW in commercial production in the PNW. Tara is a high-yielding, Hessian fly-resistant line with exceptional gluten strength. This variety is well adapted to production in direct seed systems. Breeder's seed of Tara will be produced in 2000. The PVP status of Tara is pending.


Marker-assisted backcross breeding.

B. Barrett and K. Kidwell.

A rapid, plant-advancement protocol was developed by which plants are forced to go from seed to seed within a 10- to 12-week period in the greenhouse. This allows us to advance progeny of a single cross through four to five generations per year, which greatly accelerates the breeding process. A wheat microsatellite marker associated with a chromosomal segment that confers a 1-2 % grain protein content (GPC) increase in two donor lines, GluPro and ND683, was identified, then a strategy was developed to rapidly move this segment into adapted germ plasm through marker-assisted backcross breeding. Initial crosses between the protein segment donor parents and the adapted hard red varieties Scarlet and Tara were made in 1998. The goal is to recover lines nearly identical to Scarlet and Tara with the addition of the increased GPC segment from the donor parents. BC4 lines containing 97 % of the genes from the WSU lines and 3 % of the genes from the donor parents, including the high protein segment, have been developed using this strategy. Initial field evaluations of these materials will begin in 2000.


Gene discovery.

J. Smith and K. Kidwell.

Rhizoctonia root rot is a prominent disease of spring cereal grains in direct seed management systems in the PNW. To date, genetic resistance to this disease has not been identified in cultivated wheat or barley. The objectives of this study are to 1) determine whether current spring wheat and spring barley cultivars vary in their levels of susceptibility to R. solani AG-8 and 2) identify potential gene donors among wild relatives of wheat for use in cultivar improvement. Fifteen spring wheat cultivars, 12 spring barley cultivars, 10 D. villosum accessions, D. villosum/durum amphiploids, Agropyron amphiploids, and D. villosum addition lines were evaluated for disease reaction to R. solani AG-8 in growth chamber analyses. Preliminary screening results indicated that, although variation in disease reaction was detected, all current spring wheat and spring barley varieties are susceptible to Rhizoctonia root rot. However, D. villosum appears to be a viable source of genetic resistance to R. solani AG-8.


Gene tagging.

M. Bayram, B. Barrett, and K. Kidwell.

Wheat microsatellite and AFLP markers linked within 1.1-20.6 cM of the spring growth-habit gene Vrn-B1 were identified in reciprocal mapping populations generated by crossing NILs with the recessive winter (vrn-B1) and dominant spring (Vrn-B1) growth habit alleles. This demonstrates the effectiveness of using these types of populations to identify DNA markers closely associated with genes of interest. These DNA tags will be used in MAS strategies to combine Vrn-B1 with other spring growth habit genes into single varieties in an attempt to enhance grain yield potential.



  • Barrett BA, Kidwell KK, and Cooper DB. 1999. Heterosis within and between spring and winter wheat germplasm pools. Agron Abstr:67.
  • Bayram ME, Barrett BA, and Kidwell KK. 1999. Identifying AFLP and microsatellite markers for vernalization response gene Vrn-B1 in wheat using reciprocal mapping populations. Agron Abstr:153.
  • Cook RJ, Jones S, Kidwell KK, and Dofing S. 1999. Performance of advanced lines and varieties of spring and winter wheat seeded directly into cereal stubble. In: 1999 Field Day Proc: Highlights of Research Progress (Dofing S ed). Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-1. pp. 99-102.
  • Dofing S, Kidwell K, Donaldson E, Reisenauer P, Shelton G and DeMacon V. 1999. 1998 Variety Testing Program - Spring Wheat. In: 1999 Field Day Proc: Highlights of Research Progress (Dofing S ed). Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-1. pp. 24-28.
  • Dofing SM., Donaldson E, Jones SS, Ullrich SE, Kidwell KK, and Boze S. 1999. In: 1998 Cereal Variety Evaluation Results. Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-2.
  • Kidwell K, Barrett B, DeMacon V, and Shelton G. 1999. Washington: Wheat genetics, quality, physiology and disease research. Ann Wheat News 45:292-295.
  • Kidwell K, Shelton G, DeMacon V, Barrett B, Smith J, and Bayram M. 1999. Spring wheat breeding and genetics: progress report for 1998. In: 1999 Field Day Proc: Highlights of Research Progress (Dofing S ed). Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-1. pp. 21-23.
  • Kidwell K, Ullrich S, Shelton G, Jitkov V, and Young F. 1999. Spring grain annual cropped response trial results for 1998. In: 1999 Field Day Proc: Highlights of Research Progress (Dofing S ed). Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-1. pp. 112-116.
  • Kidwell KK, Shelton GS, Morris CF, Line RF, Miller BC, Davis MA, and Konzak CF. 1999. Registration of 'Scarlet' wheat. Crop Sci 39:1255.
  • Mikhaylenko GG, Kidwell KK, Baik B-K, and Czuchajowska Z. 1999. Milling performance, rheological properties and end-product qualities of spring what varieties grown in distinct environments. In: Program Book 84th AACC Ann Meeting, Seattle, WA. p. 160.
  • Young FL, Pan WL, Kidwell KK, Thorne M, Moneymaker M, McGrew L, and Morse J. 1999. Maintenance of surface residues and N fertility in soft white winter wheat-fallow vs. continuous hard red spring wheat cropping. In: 1999 Field Day Proc: Highlights of Research Progress (Dofing S ed). Cooperative Extension, Washington State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Technical Report 99-1. pp. 78-81.