Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) is a disease that can cause major yield losses in wheat. However, using a genetic tool called Marker Assisted Selection, staff working in the Luisetti Seeds/Plant and Food Research (PFR) wheat breeding programme have developed virus resistant breeding lines. The selected lines contain BYDV resistance (Bdv2) from crosses between Viceroy milling wheat and a Bdv2 donor wheat.
These breeding lines have been assessed for field performance (compared to the original Viceroy) with promising results. They appear agronomically very similar to Viceroy, but with obvious resistance to BYDV in the presence of the virus.
The two breeding lines showing the most potential have been advanced to further trialling.
For the 2018-19 season, the Luisetti Seeds/PFR breeding programme have established an evaluation trial to compare yield between wheat lines with Bdv2 resistance and those with insecticide control (using Karate) in the presence of BYDV virus:
- A replicated yield trial was sown in May containing the two lines plus the original Viceroy cultivar.
- Every plot has been infected with aphids carrying the BYDV virus, otherwise known as “hot aphids”. This was achieved by maintaining a colony of aphids growing on potted barley plants known to be infected with BYDV. These aphids are periodically tested to ensure that they still carry the BYDV virus. The pots were subsequently placed in every yield plot.
- Just prior to the introduction of the pots into the trial, half the plots were sprayed with insecticide whilst the other half remained unprotected. This pattern of insecticide application will continue until growth stage 32 to ensure complete control in the protected plots.
- During the season, there will be a second introduction of potted plants containing “hot aphids” to ensure BYDV is present in the yield plots throughout the trial.
- The final yield results will indicate whether there is a yield benefit associated with carrying the Bdv2 gene in the presence of BYDV. This will be evident if the unprotected plots of the two trial lines yield the same amount of grain as those that were protected with insecticide.
This is a potentially exciting advancement developed by the Luisetti Seeds/PFR breeding programme, which aims to reduce reliance on insecticides.