All BGRI Abstracts

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Role of Berberis spp. as alternate hosts in generating new races of Puccinia graminis and P. striiformis

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Yue Jin USDA-ARS, Cereal Disease Laboratory
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The common barberry and several other Berberis spp. serve as the alternate hosts to two important rust pathogens of small grains and grasses, Puccinia graminis and P. striiformis. Barberry eradication has been practiced for centuries as a means to control stem rust. Diverse virulence variations have been observed in populations of P. graminis f. sp. tritici that were associated with susceptible barberries in North America. Barberry likely has played a role in generating new races of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici in some regions in the world. Several North American stem rust races, namely races 56, 15B and QCC, initially originated from barberry, were subsequently responsible for generating large-scale epidemics. Thus, sexual cycles on Berberis spp. may generate virulence combinations that could have serious consequences to cereal crop production.

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Characterization of two new wheat stem rust races within the Ug99 lineage in South Africa

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Botma Visser Department of Plant Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa
View visser_2010.pdf (240.73 KB)

Two new races of the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) stem rust pathogen, representing the fifth and sixth variants described within the Ug99 lineage, were detected in South Africa. Races TTKSP and PTKST (North American notation) were detected in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Except for Sr24 virulence, race TTKSP is phenotypically identical to TTKSF, a commonly detected race of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) in South Africa. PTKST is similar to TTKSP except that it produces a lower infection type on the Sr21 differential and has virulence for Sr31. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) analysis confirmed the genetic relationship amongst TTKSF, TTKSP, PTKST and TTKSK (Ug99). TTKSK, PTKST and TTKSF grouped together with 99% similarity, while sharing 88% genetic resemblance with TTKSP. These four races in turn shared only 31% similarity with other South African races. It is proposed that TTKSP arose locally as a single step mutation from race TTKSF, whereas PTKST probably represents an exotic introduction of Pgt to South Africa.

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Surveillance and race analysis of stem rust in Kenya for the years 2008 and 2009

BGRI 2010 Poster Abstract
Ruth Wanyera KALRO-Njoro, Kenya

Limited but targeted stem rust race characterization was undertaken in Kenya in 2004 and 2005 which led to the detection of Ug99 present in Kenya and designation of Ug99 as race TTKS (based on North American stem rust race nomenclature system). Further surveillance in 2006 and 2007 detected variants of TTKS with virulence on Sr24 (TTKST) and Sr36 (TTTSK), respectively. Stem rust surveillance was undertaken at an extended level in 2008 and 2009 within predominant wheat growing regions of Kenya. Three hundred and sixty farms were surveyed from regional districts of Naivasha, Narok, Nakuru, Laikipia, Meru, Uasin-Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo and Trans-Nzioa, during 2008 main season (May to September and December). The information from farmers indicated that more than 95% of these farms were sprayed with fungicides. Despite the use of fungicides, stem rust was detected in 67% of the surveyed farms. Stem rust ranged from trace amount -100% in severity with minimum infection in Naivasha district (40%) and maximum in Narok district (90%). Yellow rust was detected in 22% of the farms. Out of one hundred and twenty-six stem rust samples collected, 37 and 39 (a total of 76 ) samples were sent to Cereal Disease Laboratory (CDL) Minnesota, USA and Cereal Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada respectively, for race typing using the respective differentials used by these labs. From the 39 collections sent to Canada, 17 (43%) survived, of which majority were typed to TTKST (65%) followed by TTKSK (18%), PTKST (12%) and mixture of TTKST and TTKSK (5%). The CDL typed vast majority of pathotypes as TTKSK (84%) followed by TTKST and TTTSK (7% each). The combined results of two labs indicated that predominant frequency in Kenya in 2008 was TTKSK (51%) followed by TTKST (31%), PTKST (6%) and TTTSK (6%). The frequency of TTKST significantly increased in 2008 compared to 2007 which is not surprising, given that Sr24 carrying wheat cultivar KS Mwamba is cultivated on large acreage in Kenya. In 2009, 262 farms were surveyed from regional districts of Narok, Laikipia, Nyandarua, Meru, Uasin-Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo and Trans-Nzioa. The 2009 season experienced heavy drought in many areas. Nevertheless, stem rust was detected in 79% of the farms with disease severity ranging from trace to 100%. Yellow rust was detected in 15% of the farms. Stem rust infection ranged from 0 to 100% with minimum infection in Nyandarua (18%), Laikipia (42%) and maximum in Uasin-Gishu and Elgeyo (100% each). Out of seventy-four stem rust samples collected, 55 samples were sent to Canada for race typing. Only 20% of the samples survived, of which majority were typed to TTKST (50%), PTKST (34%) and PTKSK (16%). Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2010 Technical Workshop / Poster Abstracts 7 The 2009 results did not depict real situation of predominance of pathogenic variability because of small sample size, however it provided fair indication that race TTKST is still the most prevalent. This information generated on the distribution of stem rust races, and the incidence of stem rust is important for anticipatory breeding and release of cultivars with effective sources of resistance in Kenya, and at same time mitigating global threat of stem rust by reducing intensity of stem rust inoculum in East Africa.

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Association mapping of rust resistance in pre-green revolution wheat accessions

BGRI 2010 Poster Abstract
Urmil Bansal The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia

Association mapping detects correlations between genotypes and phenotypes in a sample of individuals based on the linkage disequilibrium and can be used to uncover new genetic variation among germplasm collections. Two hundred and five landraces collected by the English botanist A. Watkins in the 1920s were screened for rust response variation under field conditions during three crop seasons. An integrated map of 350 polymorphic DArT markers was developed. Association mapping identified the involvement of several genomic regions in controlling resistance to three rust diseases. Seven, eight and nine genomic regions, respectively, appeared to carry yet uncharacterized leaf rust, stripe rust and stem rust resistance. Three dimensional analyses indicated genetic association of leaf rust and stripe rust resistance in some accessions, whereas no such association was observed between stem rust resistance and resistance to either of the other two rust diseases. A new stripe rust resistance locus, Yr47, has been named. 

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Genetic map of stem rust resistant gene Sr35 in T. monococcum

BGRI 2010 Poster Abstract
W. Zhang Department of Plant Sciences, University of California-Davis, USA

With the TTKS family of races virulent on most genes currently providing protection against stem rust worldwide, identifying, mapping, and deploying resistance genes effective against these races has become critical.  We present here a genetic map of Sr35.  Both parents of our diploid mapping population (DV92/G3116, 142 SSD lines) are resistant to TTKSK, but the population segregates for resistance to TRTTF (Yemen) and RKQQC (US). Race analysis suggests that G3116 carries Sr21 and DV92 both Sr21 and Sr35.  Resistance to TRTTF and RKQQC was mapped to a 6 cM interval on chromosome 3AmL between markers BF483299 and CJ656351.  This interval corresponds to a 178-kb region in Brachypodium which contains only 16 annotated genes and exhibits a small inversion (including 2 genes) and a putative insertion (2 genes) relative to rice and sorghum.  This map contains closely-linked markers to Sr35 and provides the initial step for this gene's positional cloning.

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History and status of the wheat rusts

BGRI 2009 Plenary Abstract
Robert McIntosh The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
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The rusts have been ongoing problems for wheat production probably since domestication of the crop about 8,000 years ago. Epidemics vary in size and frequency with host genotype and environment, wet years being ‘rust’ years. Although partial control in modern agriculture was achieved with resistant varieties, conditions favoring epidemics were made worse with the intensification of production and greater resistance gene uniformity in the host. The current Ug99 incident illustrates the situation of very widely adapted successful genotypes grown across huge areas in the presence of an ongoing threat from a recently emerged widely virulent and obviously highly aggressive pathotype of the stem rust pathogen. This paper addresses some of the history of cereal rusts and reviews underlying principles of host pathogen genetics, some of which are being neglected in the period of modern genetics.

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Using race survey outputs to protect wheat from rust

BGRI 2009 Plenary Abstract
Robert Park The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
View park_2009.pdf (140.72 KB)

Race (pathotype) surveys of cereal rust pathogens have been conducted in many parts of the world since the early 1900s. The only way to identify rust pathotypes remains virulence testing in greenhouse tests using genotypes (“differentials”) carrying different resistance genes. Virulence determinations have rarely targeted genes conferring adult plant resistance because of the technical difficulties of working with adult plants under controlled conditions. Where pathotype surveys have been conducted in a robust and relevant way, they have provided both information and pathogen isolates that underpinned rust control efforts, from gene discovery to post-release management of resistance resources. Information generated by pathotype surveys has been used to: devise breeding strategies; indicate the most relevant isolates for use in screening and breeding; define the distribution of virulence and virulence combinations; allow predictions of the effectiveness/ ineffectiveness of resistance genes; and issue advance warning to growers by identifying new pathotypes (both locally evolved and introduced) before they reach levels likely to cause significant economic damage. To be most effective, pathotype surveys should also provide fully characterized isolates (defined pathotypes) for use in identifying new sources of resistance and screening breeding material. Although constrained to some extent by a lack of markers, particularly those not subject to natural selection, surveys have also provided considerable insight into the dynamics of rust pathogen populations, including the evolution and maintenance of virulence, and migration pathways, including periodic long-distance migration events.

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The global cereal rust monitoring system

BGRI 2009 Plenary Abstract
David Hodson CIMMYT-Ethiopia
View hodson_2009.pdf (620.69 KB)

Cereal rusts have long been the scourge of wheat farmers worldwide. Three fungal rusts are capable of inflicting serious economic damage to wheat; namely, leaf rust, stripe rust, and stem rust. Historically, stem rust was the most feared disease of wheat, but since the 1950s, effective resistance has protected crops and livelihoods. By the mid 1990s stem rust had been reduced to negligible levels worldwide. The detection of the Ug99 lineage of stem rust in Uganda in 1998 has challenged the assumption that stem rust was a conquered disease, and up to 80% of the world’s wheat is now considered stem rust susceptible. Ug99 has sparked a global effort by wheat scientists to counter the threat and has highlighted the need for effective surveillance and monitoring systems. Outside of a few developed countries, monitoring efforts are often irregular or even non-existent and no coordinated global surveillance effort currently exists. Ug99 has provided the impetus to implement a global surveillance and monitoring system that provides relevant and timely information as a global public good. Key components, current status and future plans for this emerging cereal rust monitoring system are described. The immediate concern regarding Ug99 makes it an initial priority focus, but the other cereal rusts cannot nor should be excluded. Lessons can be learned and parallels drawn from existing successful trans-boundary monitoring schemes such as the Desert Locust monitoring and early warning system implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Successful networking, expanded capacity of partners, efficient field surveys and data handling, plus regular timely targeted information products are all components of the Desert Locust scheme that need to be transferred to a cereal rust monitoring system. Through a consortium of partners several advances have already been made targeting the Ug99 lineage of stem rust. GIS technology is forming the backbone of an emerging rust monitoring and surveillance system being developed collaboratively by international agricultural research centers, UN agencies and advanced research institutes. The system already incorporates a rapidly expanding volume of standardized geo-referenced field survey data, routine use of wind models and public domain web tools delivering information in near-real time. Several challenges still remain before a fully operational system is created, and these are outlined. The need for vigilance and a lack of complacency regarding unexpected events are highlighted. These might include; accidental assisted movements, natural long distance dispersal and the threat of rust pathogens occurring in “non-traditional” areas as a result of climate change.

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Advances in host-pathogen molecular interactions: rust effectors as targets for recognition

BGRI 2009 Plenary Abstract
Peter Dodds CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia
View dodds_2009.pdf (131.27 KB)

Rust fungi can cause devastating diseases in agriculture and are particularly important pathogens of wheat. We have been using the flax (Linum usitatissimum) and flax rust (Melampsora lini) model system to study disease resistance mechanisms to this important class of pathogens. Rust resistance in flax and other plants is mediated by the plant innate immunity system in which highly polymorphic resistance (R) proteins act as receptors that recognize specific avirulence (Avr) proteins produced by the pathogen. This race-specific resistance is characterised by Flor’s “gene-for-gene” model, first proposed based on the flax rust system. In gene-for-gene resistance, recognition between the R and Avr proteins initiates defense responses leading to host resistance to infection, including a localised necrosis or hypersensitive response. Nineteen different rust resistance genes have been cloned from flax, including 11 allelic variants of the L locus, which all encode cytosolic proteins with conserved nucleotide-binding (NB) and Leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains. Four families of Avr genes, AvrL567, AvrM, AvrP123 and AvrP4, have been identified in the flax rust pathogen and all encode small secreted proteins. Rust Avr proteins are secreted from haustoria, specialized infection structures that penetrate the host cell wall, and are translocated across the host plasma membrane and into the host cytoplasm. These proteins are probably members of a suite of disease ‘effectors’ involved in manipulating host cell biology to facilitate infection, but have become targeted for recognition by the host immune system. As yet the mechanism of Avr protein transport is unknown, but could prove to be a useful target for novel disease control strategies. Recognition of at least two of these Avr proteins is based on direct interaction with the cytoplasmic NB-LRR R proteins. One interesting observation from the flax rust system is that all of the virulent rust strains retain intact copies of the Avr genes, but have altered their sequences sufficiently to escape recognition. Thus it may be possible to re-engineer R genes to recognise new Avr gene variants. We are currently identifying haustorially expressed secreted proteins from wheat stem rust as candidate Avr/effector proteins.

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Global stem rust surveillance in practice

BGRI 2009 Plenary Abstract
Zac Pretorius Department of Plant Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa
View pretorius_2009.pdf (118.71 KB)

An assessment was made of stem rust race analysis on a global scale. Responses were obtained from 23 rust workers representing 21 countries. Five laboratories have an institutional history in stem rust race analysis of more than 60 years, whereas personal experience in this field ranged from 0 to 35 years. The number of stem rust samples processed from 2006 to 2008 varied greatly between countries. For the three year period most collections were characterized in Canada, followed by Georgia, USA, South Africa and Australia. Most laboratories use the North American differential set and nomenclature system. However, these entries are often supplemented by additional tester lines from the Stakman set, other single gene lines or local cultivars. Differential sets varied between eight and 50 entries. More than half of the respondents indicated that they often encounter seed mixtures amongst their differentiating lines. In recent surveys most races were detected in Ethiopia, followed by Georgia and China. One race dominated the USA and Canadian stem rust population. In South America and Australia stem rust has been rare in commercial wheat for many years. Races within the Ug99 cluster were frequently identified in stem rust collections from Kenya and Ethiopia. Two races related to Ug99, but avirulent on Sr31, occur in South Africa. Several laboratories are in the process of purifying and bulking differential seed, which appears to be one of the major limiting factors in reliable stem rust race analysis. Improvement of infrastructure and training of individuals inexperienced with stem rust should improve global surveillance efforts. In addition, countries doing race analysis should keep viable culture collections in long-term storage.

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