All BGRI Abstracts

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Performance of CIMMYT germplasm in Ethiopia: Key materials for variety development

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Abeyo CIMMYT-Ethiopia

CIMMYT wheat germplasm flow to Ethiopia started in the late 1960s. Over 90 bread wheat varieties were released over the decades. Of these, about 77% had CIMMYT origins or were derived from CIMMYT materials. Wheat is a traditional rainfed crop grown by 5 million small-scale farmers on 1.6 ha more or less. Yields have increased from 1.0 t/ha in the 1960s to 2.54 t/ha in 2014 mainly due to high yielding semi-dwarf bread wheat varieties and modern agronomic practices. Using such technologies, better farmers often get 5-6 t/ha. The rusts are the most important production constraints. For example, the 2010 yellow rust epidemic debilitated the mega varieties Kubsa and Galama in the highlands. In 2013/14, stem rust caused up to 100% yield losses in the widely adopted bread wheat variety Digalu in Arsi and Bale. This epidemic was caused by Pgt race TKTTF, which is virulent to the gene SrTmp that is present in Digalu, but is avirulent to Sr31, which is overcome by race Ug99 (TTKSK) and derivatives. To avert the increasing threat of rusts, CIMMYT developed a shuttle breeding program where germplasm moves back and forth between Mexico and Kenya and has increased nursery testing sites (Holetta, Kulumsa, Debre Zeit, Sinana, Adet, and Melkassa) in Ethiopia from two to six. The germplasm passes through rigorous tests against major diseases during both the main- and off-seasons. To obtain high yielding rust resistant germplasm, many hundreds of genotypes were introduced and tested over the last two years. In 2014/15, 266 (25%) lines with multiple disease resistances and high yield were promoted to national trials. CIMMYT continues to be an important source of germplasm. Fast tracked variety testing and release, accelerated seed multiplication, demonstration and popularization of new varieties with high yield, multiple disease resistance, and acceptable quality will continue.

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Resistance to wheat stem rust in selected accessions of Iranian wheat landraces

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Mojerlou Tarbiat Modares University of Tehran, Iran
View mojerlou.pdf (199.61 KB)

Stem rust is a potentially destructive fungal disease of wheat worldwide. In 1998 Pgt pathotype TTKSK virulent to Sr31 was detected in Uganda. The same pathotype was confirmed in Lorestan and Hamedan provinces of Iran in 2007. We used a derivative of race TTKSK to phenotype 62 Iranian wheat landraces (resistant to stripe rust in a previous study) at the seedling stage to this new pathotype (TTSSK). Twenty eight accessions were evaluated for the presence of resistance genes Sr2, Sr22, Sr24, Sr25, Sr26, Sr35, Sr36 and Srweb using SSR markers. None carried Sr2, Sr24 or Sr26, but the presence of Sr22, Sr25, Sr35 and Sr36 was indicated. Some susceptible landraces predicted to carry Sr2 by marker analysis require further investigation. To evaluate defense gene expression in compatible and incompatible stem rust interactions we sampled resistant and susceptible cultivars at 0, 12, 18, 24, 72 hours post-inoculation (hpi). ?-1,3 glucanase expression was studied using qGLU-S and qGLUU-AS primers and a real-time PCR step-one ABI machine, with ?-tubulin and EF1-? genes used as internal controls. In incompatible interactions defense gene expression was increased at 24 hpi, but in compatible interactions the highest level of expression occurred at 12 hpi and was significantly decreased at 18 hpi. The results revealed that expression of defense genes such as ?-1,3 glucanase was earlier in compatible than in incompatible interactions but the expression level was less in incompatible interactions. On the other hand, in susceptible genotypes the expression of defense genes increased immediately after inoculation and declined sharply after infection. In contrast defense gene expression in resistant genotypes began to increase after establishment of the pathogen.

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Evaluation of wild wheat introgression lines for rust resistance and yield

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Abugaliyeva Kazakh Research Institute of Agriculture and Plant Growing

Wild species are sources and donors of many valuable traits for wheat improvement. We studied winter wheat introgression lines for productivity traits, disease resistance, and protein, globulin, gliadin and glutenin contents as well as grain mineral concentrations. Laboratory and field studies allowed selection in populations segregating for resistance to yellow rust and leaf rust. Lines 1718, 1721-9, 1721-4, 1675 and 1727 had the highest yields (6.2 t/ha) and stable leaf rust and stem rust resistances, but were still variable in response to stripe rust (30-80 S). Lines 1718 (Bezostaya 1 x Ae. cylindrica, genomes CCDD) and 1721 (Bezostaya 1 x T. militinae2 - 6, ABG) were resistant to stripe rust in trials at yield levels of 3.7-7.6 t/ha and from 5.7 to 8.2 t/ha, respectively. Line 1675 (Zhetisu x T. kiharae, ABGD) was resistant to all three rusts. Line 1676 (Steklovidnaya 24 x T. timopheevi, ABG) was resistant to LR and SR at a yield level of 8.3 t/ha, and 1671 (Zhetisu x T. militinae, ABG) was resistant to YR and SR at a yield level of 7.5 t/ha. Protein contents of the lines ranged from 13.6 to 18.4%, and grain mineral contents were above average.

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Surveillance and Pgt race analysis in Iran, 2014

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Afshari Seed and Plant Improvement Institute (SPII), Iran

Stem (black) rust is a potentially important disease in northern, western and southern Iran. A new Pgt race with virulence to gene Sr31 appeared in Iran in 2007. Similar races have spread in Africa and some CWANA countries. In 2014 stem rust was widespread in western, northern, northwestern and central Iran, but at low severities. Thirty-nine stem rust samples were collected for race analysis. After purification and increase each isolate was inoculated to a set of 20 North American differentials in the greenhouse. Infection types were recorded 12-14 days after inoculation using the scale described by McIntosh et al. (1995, Wheat Rusts: An Atlas of Resistance Genes, CSIRO, East Melbourne, Australia). Races TKSTC (59%), TKTTC (20%), TTTTC, KTTSK (virulent on plants with Sr31), TTSTC, PTTTF and TTTTF were detected. Race TKSTC was common in western, northwestern and central Iran. Except for avirulence to Sr17 this race is similar to the race (TKTT) that caused a stem rust epidemic in Ethiopia in 2013.

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Rust reactions of lines in a wheat crossing block developed by the Bahri Dagdas International Agricultural Research Institute in 2014

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Akan The Central Research Institute for Field Crops, Turkey

Rusts and drought are the principal yield-limiting factors for wheat production in the Central Anatolian region of Turkey. The aim of the study was to determine resistance sources in a crossing block of drought tolerant lines. Seedling tests involving all three rusts were carried out at CRIFC, Yenimahalle, in 2014. Inoculations were made with local Pgt (avirulent on differentials with Sr24, Sr26, Sr27 and Sr31), Pt (avirulent on differentials with Lr9, Lr19, Lr24 and Lr28) and a local Pst population. Reactions were scored 14 days post-inoculation on 0-4 (LR and SR) or 0-9 (YR) scales. Seventeen (19%) genotypes were resistant to stripe rust, 11 (12%) were resistant to leaf rust, and 17 (19%) were resistant to stripe rust.

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Comparative analysis of rust resistant and susceptible wheat varieties in Pakistan

BGRI 2015 Poster Abstract
Ali International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Pakistan Office

To reduce losses caused by rusts, regular and timely replacement of susceptible varieties with new high yielding, rust resistant varieties must occur. Data from a farmer survey carried out across Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh, KPK and Baluchistan) in 2014 enabled an analysis of the uptake of rust resistant variety NARC 2011. The empirical results indicated that the major sources of information that farmers obtained about NARC 2011 were research stations (83%), seed companies (7%) and fellow farmers (5%). Although production inputs were applied equally to both rust resistant NARC 2011 and rust susceptible wheat varieties the average yield of NARC 2011 (5,063 kg/ha) was superior to high yielding but rust susceptible varieties (4,446 kg/ha). Quality attributes of NARC 2011, including taste, color, dough kneading and chapatti making properties, were preferred by >70% of farmers). Seed availability and accessibility of NARC 2011 were major issues. Farmer awareness of rusts, especially the threat of exotic Pgt race Ug99, needs to be improved.

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Understanding resistance gene mediated recognition of stem rust in wheat

BGRI 2014 Plenary Abstract
Peter Dodds CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia

Stem rust caused by Puccinia graminis tritici (Pgt) is one of the most serious diseases in wheat and is combated mainly through the use of resistant varieties. Because the fungus evolves virulence towards previously resistant varieties, continuous breeding and identification of new sources of resistance are necessary to combat the threat of rust epidemics. Our work on the flax rust model system has provided insights into how the plant immune system recognises and responds to rust pathogens. We have been extending this work to wheat stem rust by targeted cloning of resistance (R) genes in wheat and corresponding Avr genes in Pgt. Plant R genes encode immune receptors that recognise and respond to pathogen effector proteins delivered into host cells from haustoria. We recently isolated the Sr33 and Sr50 resistance genes from wheat and have begun functional analyses to determine how they trigger defense responses. We are also targeting effectors from Pgt that are recognised by wheat R genes. We used genome and transcriptome sequencing to predict ~400 candidate effector genes from Australian Pgt race 21- 0. To screen for recognition of these proteins by wheat R genes, we developed a bacterial Type III Secretion System delivery assay using Pseudomonas fluorescens to inject the effector candidates into wheat leaf cells. We are screening candidate effectors on a set of 18 wheat cultivars carrying 22 different R genes and have so far identified one effector that induces a cell death response specifically on a wheat genotype carrying Sr22. Understanding the nature of wheat R genes and the Avr proteins that they recognize will allow better prediction of R gene durability and enable the possibility of rational design of novel R genes. We are also developing techniques for stacking R genes in cassettes for deployment of multiple genes at a single locus in wheat. 

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New germplasm development using synthetic and other approaches to transfer stem rust resistance from tetraploids to hexaploids

BGRI 2014 Plenary Abstract
Steven Xu USDA-ARS, Cereal Crops Research Unit, Fargo, ND, USA

In the Triticum genus, tetraploid T. turgidum is a useful resource for germplasm improvement of hexaploid common wheat (T. aestivum). Several recent studies demonstrated that Pgt race TTKSK resistant genotypes were abundantly present among seven tetraploid subspecies (T. turgidum subsp. carthlicum , dicoccum , dicoccoides , durum, polonicum , turgidum , and turanicum ). In an effort to improve common wheat for TTKSK resistance, we have been transferring stem rust resistance from tetraploid to hexaploid wheat through production of synthetic hexaploid wheat (SHW) or direct hexaploid × tetraploid hybridization followed by backcrossing. For production of SHW lines, we selected 181 unique tetraploid genotypes from the seven tetraploid subspecies for crosses with 14 accessions of Aegilops tauschii (2 n = 2 x = 14, DD) and developed 200 new SHW lines from these crosses. We are currently characterizing these lines for reaction to stem rust. So far, 80 SHW lines and their parents have been evaluated for reaction to races TTKSK, TRTTF, TTTTF and six other U.S. races and genotyped using molecular markers linked to known resistance genes previously identified in T. turgidum subsp. dicoccum and Ae. tauschii. The evaluation data showed that 42, 40, and 52 SHW were resistant to races TTKSK, TRTTF, and TTTTF respectively, with 21 lines being resistant to all three races. Based on marker analysis and race specificity, we postulated that a number of SHW lines have novel genes conferring resistance to TTKSK and other races. For gene introgression through direct hybridization, we have transferred Sr47, which was recently transferred from Ae. speltoides into durum through marker-assisted chromosome engineering, from durum into adapted hard red spring wheat germplasm. The new SHW lines and adapted germplasm carrying unique stem rust resistance genes from the tetraploids represent new sources of stem rust resistance for hexaploid wheat improvement.

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Denmark's investment in the Global Rust Reference Center (GRRC)

BGRI 2014 Plenary Abstract
Mogens Hovmoller Aarhus University, Denmark

The Global Rust Reference Centre (GRRC, www.wheatrust.org) was established in 2008 upon the request of CIMMYT and (ICARDA) and extended in 2011 by the support of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. GRRC serve as a global hub for investigating wheat rust fungi and can receive alive samples from all countries year round. The activities of GRRC comprise pathotyping of wheat yellow rust and wheat stem rust, as well as training of students and scientists, data handling and storage (databases) and reporting. The current research activities have a focus on evolutionary population biology, as well as basic genetic and genomic studies in yellow rust. The “Wheat Rust Toolbox” and the team behind has become part of the GRRC and all data generated by GRRC will be stored in this system. Data management, research activities and dissemination will be coordinated and integrated with partner information platforms at CIMMYT, ICARDA, Cornell University and other global partners. The quarantine greenhouse space has in recent years been enlarged by more than 50% allowing GRRC to take in more rust samples and students. The GRRC activities expanded significantly in 2011 and 2013 via grants from the Danish Strategic Research Council and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. One of these initiatives, RUSTFIGHT, has a focus on understanding “aggressiveness” and involves a number of Danish and international partners, including ICARDA and CIMMYT, INRA and the John Innes Centre (UK), and private Danish plant breeding Industry.

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A comparison of stem rust in oats and stripe rust in wheat: A Swedish example

BGRI 2014 Plenary Abstract
Jonathan Yuen Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

A number of rusts affect grain crops in Sweden, but stem rust on oats and stripe (yellow) rust on wheat appear to create the greatest problems in production. The epidemiology of these diseases is intimately connected to the overall cropping patterns of these two crops. In Sweden, oats are only sown in the spring, thus forcing any overwintering pathogen to survive a Swedish winter. This is easiest for Puccinia graminis f. sp. avenae, which apparently completes its full, sexual life cycle on the abundant barberry plants. The presence of barberry and clear indications of sexual reproduction by P. graminis suggests that Pgt could be a problem on wheat, but there are only sporadic reports of stem rust on wheat. Wheat cultivars grown in Sweden possess few effective genes for resistance to stem rust, and the lack of rust is probably due to a lack of Pgt in the region. Given the resurgence of barberry in the landscape this implies that stem rust on wheat could be a major problem if (or when) the pathogen returns. P. striiformis, in contrast, can survive the Swedish winters on fall sown cereal crops, and thus it is the fittest clones that survive and dominate in the population. A large number of factors can affect this fitness, most markedly resistance genes in the cultivated wheat, but it is also possible that extended asexual reproduction can reduce the fitness of these persistent clones (Muller's ratchet) so that they can be displaced by fitter clones. Despite the widespread occurrence of barberry plants, we have not found any aecia of P. striiformis, although there does seem to be some genetic variation in the alternate host. Simple models that simulate the appearance and competition between different clonal lineages of the pathogen indicate that fitter individuals will eventually dominate the population, but their initial appearance will be difficult, since they are only detectable after enough generations have passed to increase the population size above a detectable level.

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