A collaborative effort initiated by the South Asian Wheat Disease Consortium during the Borlaug Global Rust’s SAARC training in Nepal, in 2015, resulted in a close evaluation of the wheat yellow rust pathogen population structure in the Himalayan region by Sajid Ali’s group at the Institute of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering, at the University of Agriculture, in Peshawar, Pakistan. The study involved collaborators from Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan with financial support from the DGGW, CIMMYT, HEC, Pakistan, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and DFID, UK.
The work was published in APS journal “Phytopathology,” and constitutes a part of the PhD work of Muhammad Rameez Khan.
The study revealed diversity and divergence in Himalayan Pst populations. The overall high diversity and recombination signature suggested the potential role of recombination in both the eastern Himalayan region (Nepal and Bhutan) and western Himalayan region (Pakistan), which needs to be considered during host resistance deployment and in the context of aerial dispersal of the pathogen.
Further surveillance should be made in the Himalayan region for disease management in the region and in the context of worldwide invasions. Previously, invasive strains of P. striiformis introduced into new regions has resulted in huge epidemics across large geographical regions. To avoid such surprises and emergency situations, the authors strongly suggested the need for further collaborative efforts to tackle the disease at national, regional and worldwide scale.
Additional information is contained in “Genetic divergence and diversity in Himalayan Puccinia striiformis populations from Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan,” written by Khan MR, Rahman ZU, Nazir SN, Tshewang S, Baidya S, Hodson D, Imtiaz M and Ali S. 2019. Phytopathology. Published Early View. https://doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-01-19-0031-R