Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) of resistance to stem and stripe (yellow) rust in Iranian wheat cultivars and elite lines
Rust diseases in wheat are the major threat to wheat production and yield gains. The breakdown in resistance of certain major genes and new emerging aggressive races of rusts are causing serious concerns in all main wheat growing areas of the world. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to search for new sources of resistance genes or QTL's for effective utilization in future breeding programs. In total 100 wheat genotypes were evaluated for seedling and adult-plant resistance to stem rust races TKTTF and TTKSK at Tel Hadya-Syria, and Njoro-Kenya, and Kelardasht-Iran. Evaluation to Yr27 virulent stripe rust race was carried out at Tel Hadya and Terbol-Lebanon research stations. In this study we used genome wide association studies (GWAS) to identify markers or QTLs linked to stem rust and stripe rust races using Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT?) in selected 35 Iranian wheat genotypes. The association of markers and phenotypes was carried out using a unified mixed-model approach (MLM) as implemented in the genome association and prediction integrated tool (GAPIT). Out of 3,072 markers, 986 were polymorphic and used for marker trait associations. A total of 44 DArT markers were identified to be significantly (p<=0.01) associated with studied traits in 16 genomic regions 1A, 1B, 2A, 4A, 6A, 7A, 1B.1R, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 5B.7B, 6B, 7D and an unknown region. Among associated markers, 34 were linked to stem and nine to stripe rust. They were found on 16 genomic regions on chromosome arms 1A, 1B, 2A, 4A, 6A, 7A, 1B.1R, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 5B.7B, 6B, 7D and an unknown region. Associated markers explained phenotypic variation ranging from 21 to 65%. In addition to validation of previously identified genes, this study revealed new QTL's linked to stem and stripe rust which will assist breeders to develop new resistant varieties.