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Xianwen Zhu Presents Ph.D. Seminar

Ph.D. candidate Xianwen Zhu presented a seminar on his doctoral research titled "Molecular and Genetic Characterization of Fusarium Head Blight Resistance in Durum Wheat" on Friday, February 13, 2015 in Loftsgard Hall at North Dakota State University.
Xianwen Zhu Presents Ph.D. Seminar

Xianwen Zhu (right) with adviser Dr. Xiwen Cai

Xianwen Zhu Dissertation Video

Plant Sciences Ph.D candidate Xianwen Zhu presented an exit seminar on his research titled, Molecular and Genetic Characterization of Fusarium Head Blight Resistance in Durum Wheat on Friday, February 13 on the North Dakota State University campus in Fargo. The focus of Zhu’s research was to perform saturation and fine mapping of wild emmer wheat-derived Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistant genes and to characterize inheritance of hexaploid-derived FHB resistance genes in durum wheat.

Zhu provided a detailed explanation of his research, which follows:

In this research, the chromosomal region harboring FHB resistance quantitative trait locus Qfhs.ndsu-3AS identified from wild emmer wheat was shortened from 11.5 cM in a previous study to 5.2 cM in the current study flanking by two new STS markers. This will facilitate utilization of this FHB resistance QTL through marker-assisted selection in durum wheat breeding. In addition, I found that the expression of hexaploid wheat-derived FHB resistance genes was influenced by durum background. Multiple chromosomes from durum wheat and D genome were observed to have negative or positive effects on FHB resistance. Apparently, proper manipulation of durum and D-genome chromosomes or chromosomal regions is essential to improve FHB resistance in durum wheat.

Zhu, recipient of the Charles and Linda Moses Presidential Graduate Fellowship (2012-13 and 2014-15), chose NDSU due to the beauty and kindness he found on campus and because of the excellence in crop breeding and genetics faculty in the Department of Plant Sciences. He believes that NDSU has well-prepared him with agricultural knowledge that will lead to career development and he plans to work in academia or industry to continue molecular breeding research. Zhu is originally from China.

Zhu’s graduate committee included Dr. François Marais, Dr. Kevin McPhee, Dr. Steven Xu and Dr. Shaobin Zhong. Zhu’s adviser was Dr. Xiwen Cai.

Source: Xianwen Zhu (contact Dr. Xiwen Cai, 701-231-7404,
Author: Shannon Ueker, 701-231-7971,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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