Molecular marker assisted gene pyramiding for durable rust resistance in wheat

Shahid Nazir


Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI), Faisalabad-Pakistan

Imran Habib, Sajid-ur-Rahman, Muuhammad Waqas Jamil, Muhammad Zaffar Iqbal



Rust diseases are among the most important affecting wheat because they are responsible for a significant yield reduction globally. Different types of conventional breeding approaches are currently underway to protect wheat from these diseases. The involvement of molecular genetics and biotechnology tools in conventional plant breeding sets new directions to develop crop varieties with desired traits more efficiently and accurately. An array of molecular markers linked to rust resistant genes and dense molecular genetic maps are now available for use. Marker assisted selection (MAS) is now a routine activity in various crops especially for agronomic traits that are otherwise difficult to tag like resistance to pathogens, insects, nematodes etc. Gene pyramiding involves the stacking of many genes leading to real-time expression of all genes in single variety to develop durable resistance. This method is gaining significant popularity as it would enhance the efficiency of conventional breeding methods and precise development of broad spectrum resistant capabilities. Keeping in view the significance of MAS, rust resistant wheat parental lines were selected and molecular information was tagged using gene linked markers through PCR. Conventional breeding plane was designed on the basis of molecular data and maximum crosses were made between high yielding susceptible and resistant wheat genotypes. Molecular screening and other yield parameters were keenly noted on each stage of segregating population. Three rust resistant genes i.e. Lr-34/Yr-18, Lr-46/Yr-29 and Lr-19 were successfully combined in three cross combinations. Twenty crosses were found positive for two resistant genes i.e. Lr-46/Yr-29 and Lr-19, Moreover, one cross was positive for Lr-34/Yr-18 and Lr-46/Yr-29, and one was positive for Lr-34/Yr-18 and Lr-19. Introduction of more genes is also continued to develop superior resistance against a wide range of rust pathogen in wheat.