Sources of Resistance to Septoria Tritici Blotch Identified in Ethiopian Durum Wheat

Carlo Fadda

Bioversity International

Bogale Nigir, Cherinet Alem, Yosef G. Kidane, Mario Enrico Pè, Matteo Dell'Acqua


Septoria tritici blotch (STB) is a devastating fungal disease affecting durum and bread wheat cultivation worldwide. The search for resistance sources in untapped genetic resources may speed up breeding for STB resistance. Ethiopian durum wheat landraces represent a valuable source of allelic diversity for several traits, including disease resistance. In this study, we measure STB phenotypes under natural infection on two interconnected populations: i) a diversity panel comprising 318 Ethiopian durum wheat lines, mostly farmer varieties, and ii) a nested association mapping (NAM) population developed from a subset of the diversity panel. Phenology, yield and yield component traits were concurrently measured in the populations. We evaluated the distribution of STB resistance in Ethiopian genetic materials and the relationship existing between STB resistance and agronomic traits. STB resistance sources were found in landraces as well as in NAM lines. The genetic material was genotyped with more than 13 thousand genome-wide SNP markers to describe the linkage disequilibrium and genetic structure existing within the panels. The genotyping information was combined with phenotypes to identify marker-trait associations and loci involved in STB resistance. We identified several loci, each explaining up to 10% of the phenotypic variance for disease resistance. We developed KASP markers tagging the most interesting loci to allow the uptake of our results in a breeding perspective. Our results showed that the Ethiopian untapped allelic diversity bears a great value for studying the molecular basis of STB resistance and for breeding for resistance in local and international material.