Characterization of wheat germplasm for leaf rust resistance using molecular markers and multi-location field testing
Resistance breeding for wheat leaf rust requires testing of breeding materials under field conditions, which must be complemented with diagnostic molecular makers. A set of 28 exotic wheat lines from advanced CIMMYT material along with three check varieties (Siran, Atta-Habib, Ghanimat-e-IBGE) were tested at three contrasting locations (Peshawar, Mansehra and Lakki-Marwat) and were genotyped with markers linked to three Lr genes (LrPr, Lr37, and Lr34). The overall leaf rust pressure was low during the wheat season of 2015-16, with the maximum disease observed at Lakki-Marwat (up to 70%), followed by Peshawar (up to 50%) and the minimum disease at Mansehra (up to 30%). Despite the overall low leaf rust pressure, the germplasm behaved variably in terms of leaf rust resistance as revealed through average co-efficient of infection (ACI). According to ACI value, 16 out of 28 genotypes were completely resistant, while few genotypes showed partial resistance. The maximum CI value was recorded for wheat line W-SA-87, which was 55 at Lakki Marwat, 33 at Peshawar and 15 at Mansehra, while 18 lines had CI value of zero across the three locations. Variability existed in yield parameters with W-SA-84, W-SA-78 and W-SA-79 producing the better grain yield. Genotyping with Lr linked markers viz., STS-7 (LrPr), SC-Y15 (linked with Lr37) and csLV34 (linked with Lr34) revealed that among the tested lines LrPr was the most frequent (83.8%), present in 26 lines; followed by Lr37 (77.4%), present in 24 lines, while Lr34 was present in 16 lines (71.1%). All three genes were detected in 45% of the germplasm. Cluster analysis grouped the germplasm in four clusters based on both phenotypic and molecular markers data. The information generated in the present study would be valuable in resistance breeding for a better control of leaf rust disease in Pakistan.