Incorporation of rust resistance (especially stem rust race Ug99) from rice to wheat through Wheat ? rice crossing
Rust is the single largest factor limiting wheat production in Pakistan. According to the FAO reports, countries in the predicted immediate pathway of Ug99 grow more than 65 million hectares of wheat, accounting for about 25% of global wheat harvest.
Rice, a member of the same family (Poaceae) is not attacked by any rusts. Wheat, an allo-hexaploid is responsive for wide crossing. It has previously been successfully crossed with its several wild relatives and different other crop species like corn, pearl millet etc. Based on the above facts wheat ? wild rice crossing has been attempted to incorporate rust resistance from rice to wheat. Successful crosses were made under in-vitro conditions. Surviving plantlets developed from these crosses were assayed for any genetic material introgressed from rice. Different cytological / molecular techniques were used to detect the introgression (Squash preparations from root tips, FISH, GISH, SSR etc.). Two hundred and fifty primers specific to rice chromatin were used to look for the introgression of rice chromatin into hybrids. Seven primers amplified the fragments in hybrids indicating the possible introgression of rice chromatin in wheat x rice hybrids but in-situ hybridization didn't confirm that introgression. So further testing of these hybrids is needed.