All BGRI Abstracts

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New tools for wheat genetics and breeding: Genome-wide analysis of SNP variation

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Eduard Akhunov Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, USA
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Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is one of the most broadly distributed types of molecular variation in a genome which, along with the availability of costand labor-effective genotyping platforms, make it the marker of choice for many crops. Our work is aimed at the development of a dense set of genetically mapped SNP markers for low-cost high-throughput genotyping of wheat germplasm. Next generation sequencing of normalized cDNA libraries was used for developing gene-associated SNPs in polyploid wheat. A total of 7.5 million 454 reads were generated from cDNA libraries of 10 wheat cultivars from US and Australia and processed for discovering SNPs using a bioinformatical pipeline specifically designed for variant discovery in polyploid transcriptomes. A total of 25,000 high-quality SNPs distributed among 14,500 EST contigs were identified. All these SNPs were validated by comparison with RNAseq data generated from an additional set of 17 U.S. and Australian cultivars. A total of 9,000 genome-wide common SNPs were selected for designing an Illumina iSelect assay. Preliminary testing showed that more than 95% of SNPs produce high-quality genotype calls with up to 70% being polymorphic in a diverse sample of U.S. and Australian cultivars with a minor allele frequency >0.05. The assay is currently being used for studying patterns of genetic diversity in a worldwide collection of wheat cultivars and for developing a high-density SNP map. A long term goal of this initiative is to advance wheat research and breeding by developing genetic and genomic tools for efficient analysis of agronomic traits using high-resolution linkage and association mapping and deploying SNP markers in breeding programs

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High yielding CIMMYT spring wheats with resistance to Ug99 and other rusts developed through targeted breeding

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Ravi Singh CIMMYT
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Targeted breeding to develop high yielding wheat germplasm resistant to Ug99 and other rusts initiated at CIMMYT in 2006. Ug99 resistant materials, especially those with adult plant resistance (APR), were used in crossing. F3 and F4 populations from simple, BC1 and top crosses were grown for two generations under high rust pressures at Njoro, Kenya in a Mexico-Kenya shuttle breeding scheme. Parallel populations were also grown in Mexico for comparison. Approximately 5,000 advanced lines were tested for grain yield performance at Ciudad Obregon, Mexico in 2009/10 season, and phenotyped for resistance to Ug99 and other rusts. The 728 retained lines were evaluated for grain yield performance in five environments during the 2010/11 season in Mexico. About 68% of the 728 lines had nearimmune (16.5% entries) to adequate APR to Ug99. An additional 13.6% lines carried one of the six (Sr25, Sr26, SrTmp, SrHuw234, SrSha7, and an unidentified gene) race-specific resistance genes often in combination with APR gene Sr2. About 80% entries were highly resistant to yellow rust in Kenya and Mexico, and 90% entries to leaf rust in Mexico. Yield distribution of lines derived from Mexico-Kenya shuttle breeding was similar to lines selected only in Mexico. Sufficient lines with >5% superior yields than the Mexican checks varieties in 2 years testing were identified. Our results indicate that targeted crossing and shuttle breeding are powerful tools for a simultaneous improvement of grain yield potential and resistance to rusts.

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Mapping of durable adult plant stem rust resistance in six CIMMYT wheats to Ug99 group of races

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Sridhar Bhavani CIMMYT-Kenya
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Durable resistance to wheat stem rust fungus can Be achieved by developing and deploying varieties that have race-nonspecific, adult plant resistance (APR) conferred by multiple minor, slow rusting genes. Wheat lines ‘Kingbird, ‘Kiritati’, ‘Huirivis#1’, ‘Juchi’, ‘Muu’ and ‘Pavon 76’ showed high levels of APR to Ug99 races of stem rust fungus when tested in Kenya. The F5 and F6 generation recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations developed from the crosses of moderately susceptible ‘PBW343’ with five resistant parents were used in mapping. The non-Sr26 fraction of the ‘Avocet’ x Pavon 76 RIL population, developed earlier for leaf rust and stripe rust resistance studies, was also included. Field phenotyping of the parents and RILs were conducted at Njoro, Kenya for at least two years with Ug99+Sr24 (TTKST) race under high stem rust pressures. The continuous variation of APR in each RIL population and genetic analyses indicated quantitative nature of resistance that was likely governed by 3 or 4 minor genes. Single and joint year analyses by Inclusive Composite Interval Mapping (ICIM) using informative DArT and/or SSR markers identified consistent APR QTLs on chromosomes 1AL, 3BS, 5BL, 7A and 7DS in Kingbird; 2D, 3BS, 5BL and 7DS in Kiritati; 2B, 3BS, 4A, 5BL and 6B in Juchi; 2B, 3BS, 7B in Huirivis#1; 2B, 3BS and 5BL in Muu; and 1BL, 3BS, 5A and 6B in Pavon 76. QTLs on each genomic regions explained 10- 46% of the phenotypic variation for APR. Pseudo-black chaff phenotype associated with APR gene Sr2 on chromosome 3BS in all six resistant parents and identification of an APR QTL in the same region in all mapping populations confirmed the role of Sr2 in reducing stem rust severity. The 1BL QTL in Pavon 76 was in the same region where pleiotropic APR gene Lr46/Yr29/Pm39 is located. Similarly a 7DS QTL in Kingbird and Huirivis#1 was in the chromosomal region where pleiotropic APR gene Lr34/Yr18/Pm38 is located. These results indicate that the above two pleiotropic resistance genes confer APR to stem rust in addition to leaf rust, yellow rust and powdery mildew. Further studies are underway to saturate the genomic regions harboring new APR QTLs with additional molecular markers.

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International surveillance of wheat rust pathogens - progress and challenges

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Robert Park The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
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Surveillance of wheat rust pathogens, including assessments of rust incidence and virulence characterization via either trap plots or race (pathotype) surveys, has provided information fundamental in formulating and adopting appropriate national and international policies, investments and strategies in plant protection, plant breeding, seed systems, and in rust pathogen research. Despite many successes from national and regional co-ordination of rust surveillance, few attempts were made to extend rust surveillance to international or even global levels. The Global Cereal Rust Monitoring System was established to address this deficiency. It is underpinned by an information platform that includes standardized protocols for methods and systems used in surveys, preliminary virulence testing, data, sample transmission and management at the field and national and global levels, and includes two web-based visualization tools. While considerable progress has been made towards a global system for monitoring variability in the wheat stem rust pathogen, and linking this to the threat posed by this pathogen to regional wheat production, some challenges remain, including ongoing commitment to support rust surveillance, and the ability to share and compare surveillance data.

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Global status of stripe rust

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Colin Wellings The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
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Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis, has been an important disease of wheat, barley, rye, triticale and certain graminaceous hosts for centuries. The significance of the disease on cultivated cereals has waxed and waned according to the vagaries of climate, inoculum levels and susceptible varieties. A progressive understanding of pathogen biology has revealed levels of specialisation between and within host groups, and these had varying impacts on the hosts concerned. The most economically important form is P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), the causal pathogen of stripe (yellow) rust of wheat, which is the major focus of this paper. The recent discovery of the perfect stage of Pst on Berberis spp. will encourage further work to uncover the potential importance of the sexual stage in pathogen biology in regions where Berberis spp. occur. A review of the evolution of pathotypes within Pst over the past 50 years reveals recurrent pandemics emanating from a combination of specific virulence in the pathogen population, wide scale cultivation of genetically similar varieties, and agronomic practices that led to high yield potential. When these factors operate in concert, regional stripe rust epidemics have proven to be dramatic, extensive and serious in terms of the magnitude of losses and the economic hardships endured. A review of these epidemics suggests that little progress has been made in containing the worst effects of epidemics. The current status of stripe rust was gauged from a survey of 25 pathologists and breeders directly associated with the disease. It was evident that Pst remains a significant threat in the majority of wheat growing regions of the world with potential to inflict regular regional crop losses ranging from 0.1 to 5%, with rare events giving losses of 5 to 25%. Regions with current vulnerability include the USA (particularly Pacific North West), East Asia (China north-west and south-west), South Asia (Nepal), Oceania (Australia) and East Africa (Kenya). The resources deployed to contain the worst effects of Pst will need to find a balance between training a new generation of breeders and pathologists in host-pathogen genetics, and an investment in infrastructure in IARCs and NARs.

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Genetic protection of wheat from rusts and development of resistant varieties in Russia and Ukraine

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Alexey Morgounov CIMMYT-Turkey
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Leaf rust represents the major threat to wheat production in Russia and Ukraine. It has been present for many years and epidemics occur in different regions on both winter and spring wheat. In some regions there is evidence of more frequent epidemics, probably due to higher precipitation as a result of climate change. There is evidence that the virulence of the leaf rust population in Ukraine and European Russia and on winter wheat and spring wheat is similar. The pathogen population structure in Western Siberia is also similar to the European part, although there are some significant differences based on the genes employed in different regions. Ukrainian wheat breeders mostly rely on major resistance genes from wide crosses and have succeeded in developing resistant varieties. The North Caucasus winter wheat breeding programs apply the strategy of deploying varieties with different types of resistance and genes. This approach resulted in decreased leaf rust incidence in the region. Genes Lr23 and Lr19 deployed in spring wheat in the Volga region were rapidly overcome by the pathogen. There are continuing efforts to incorporate resistance from wild species. The first leaf rust resistant spring wheat varieties released in Western Siberia possessed gene LrTR which protected the crop for 10-15 years, but was eventually broken in 2007. Slow rusting is being utilized in several breeding programs in Russia and Ukraine, but has not become a major strategy.

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Status of wheat rust research and control in China

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Zhensheng Kang College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, P.R. China
View kang_2010.pdf (284.43 KB)

In China, wheat is grown on approximately 24 million hectares with an annual yield of 100 million tonnes. Stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, is a threat mainly to spring wheat in northeastern China. Leaf rust, caused by P. triticina, occurs on crops in the late growth stages in the Yellow-Huai-Hai River regions. Stripe rust, caused by P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is destructive in all winter wheat regions and is considered the most important disease of wheat in China. During the last 20 years, widespread stripe rust epidemics occurred in 2002, 2003, and 2009, and localized epidemics occurred in many other years. In recent years, major yield losses were prevented by widespread and timely applications of fungicides based on accurate monitoring and prediction of disease epidemics. A total of 68 Pst races or pathotypes have been identified using a set of 19 differential wheat genotypes. At present, races CYR32 and CYR33 virulent to resistance genes Yr9, Yr3b, Yr4b, YrSu and some other resistance genes are predominant. Moreover, these races are virulent on many cultivars grown in recent years. Of 501 recent cultivars and breeding lines 71.9% were susceptible, 7.0% had effective all-stage resistance, mostly Yr26 (= Yr24), and 21.2% had adult-plant resistance. Several resistance genes, including Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr24/Yr26, YrZH84 and some unnamed genes, are still effective against the current Pst population. All have been widely used in breeding programs. Lines with one or more of Yr1, Yr2, Yr3, Yr4, Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr9 and other unnamed resistance genes are susceptible to currently predominant races. Durable adult plant resistance sources are being increasingly used as parents in breeding programs. Progress has been made in genomics and population genetics of Pst, molecular mapping of resistance genes, and cytological and molecular mechanisms of the host-pathogen interactions involved in stripe rust.

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Implications of climate change for diseases, crop yields and food security

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Adrian Newton Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), U.K.
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Accelerated climate change affects components of complex biological interactions differentially, often causing changes that are difficult to predict. Crop yield and quality are affected by climate change directly, and indirectly, through diseases that themselves will change but remain important. These effects are difficult to dissect and model as their mechanistic bases are generally poorly understood. Nevertheless, a combination of integrated modelling from different disciplines and multi-factorial experimentation will advance our understanding and prioritisation of the challenges. Food security brings in additional socio-economic, geographical and political factors. Enhancing resilience to the effects of climate change is important for all these systems and functional diversity is one of the most effective targets for improved sustainability.

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Rust-proofing wheat for a changing climate

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Sukumar Chakraborty CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia
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This paper offers projections of potential effects of climate change on rusts of wheat and how we should factor in a changing climate when planning for the future management of these diseases. Even though the rusts of wheat have been extensively studied internationally, there is a paucity of information on the likely effects of a changing climate on the rusts and hence on wheat production. Due to the lack of published empirical research we relied on the few published studies of other plant diseases, our own unpublished work and relevant information from the vast literature on rusts of wheat to prepare this overview. Potential risks from a changing climate were divided into three major groups: increased loss from wheat rusts, new rust races evolving faster and the reduced effectiveness of rust resistances. Increased biomass of wheat crops grown in the presence of elevated CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures will increase the leaf area available for attack by the pathogen. This combined with increased speed of the pathogen’s life cycle, may increase the rate of epidemic development in many environments. Likewise, should the effects of climate change result in more conducive conditions for rust development there will also be a corresponding increase in the rate of evolution of new and presumably virulent races. The effectiveness of some rust resistance genes are influenced by temperature, crop development stage and even nitrogen status of the host. It is likely that direct and indirect changes on the host from climate change may influence the effectiveness of some of these resistance genes. Currently the likely effects of climate change on the effectiveness of disease resistance is not known and since disease resistance breeding is a long term strategy it is important to determine if any of the important genes may become less effective due to climate change. Studies must be made to acquire new information on the rust disease triangle to increase the adaptive capacity of wheat under climate change. BGRI leadership is needed to broker research on rust evolution and the durability of resistance under climate change.

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Nutrient uptake in rust fungi: How sweet is parasitic life?

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Ralf T. Voegele Fachgebiet Phytopathologie, Institut für Phytomedizin, Fakultät Agrarwissenschaften, Germany
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A better understanding of the fundamental principles of host-pathogen interactions should enable us to develop new strategies to control disease and to eliminate or at least manage their causative agents. This is especially true for obligate biotrophic parasites like the rust fungi. One vital aspect in the field of obligate biotrophic host-pathogen interactions is the mobilization, acquisition and metabolism of nutrients by the pathogen. This includes transporters necessary for the uptake of nutrients as well as enzymes necessary for their mobilization and metabolism. In a broader sense effector molecules reprogramming the host or triggering the infected cell into metabolic shifts favorable for the pathogen also play an important role in pathogen alimentation.

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