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The Cereal Crops Research Institute (CCRI) is situated on the left bank of River Kabul, near village Pirsabak, 3 km east of Nowshera at an elevation of 288 m above sea level on the intersection of 74? E longitude and 32? N latitude. In July 2010, a devastating flood destroyed all the available germplasm, machineries, laboratories, and field equipment. After the flood research activities were restarted with full motivation, dedication and hard work in collaboration with PARC, ICARDA, CIMMYT, and with the help of wheat productivity enhancement program (WPEP). Developed new population of wheat via spring x spring, spring x facultative germplasm to elevate genetic diversity and lines selected from segregating populations for high yield and rust resistance are at advanced stage of testing.
Since the flood, the CCRI developed four new wheat cultivars: Pirsabak-2013 Pakhtunkhwa-2015 for irrigated areas and Shahkar-2013 and Pirsabak-2015 for rainfed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Varietal maintenance and seed production of the released varieties has been undertaken by the wheat breeding team effectively. The seed of these newly developed wheat cultivars was multiplied on fast track basis through pre-released seed multiplication and now these four varieties are the most popular cultivars of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Three new candidate wheat lines (PR-106, PR-110 and PR-112) have been submitted to provincial seed council for approval as new wheat cultivars for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Two new candidate lines i.e. PR-115 and PR-118 got first position in National Uniform Wheat Yield Trials (NUWYT) on the basis of grain yield during 2016-17 under irrigated and rainfed conditions, respectively.
Global warming affects the environmental parameters of agro-based countries like temperature increase, melting of glaciers, floods, erratic rains, low temperature, frost and high temperature. As a result agriculture is becoming more vulnerable to global environmental shifts. In case of wheat, erratic or low rains badly affect the wheat crop of rainfed areas of the country along with high temperature at seedling or juvenile stage. Similarly, frost affects the early sown wheat crop in irrigated areas of Punjab. Lesser availability of irrigation water from water reservoirs also reduces the wheat crop productivity. Sudden increase in temperature (>30?C) during the month of March adversely affect the grain filling. High temperature during grain filling stage interferes with the photosynthetic activities of the plant due to enhanced maturity, grain become shriveled and results in low grain yield. The threat of these environmental changes can only be overcome through breeding with specific objectives which is cost effective once obtained.
Hence development of wheat varieties for frost, drought and heat tolerance is the only feasible solution to combat these stresses which is being used at Wheat Program of Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad, Pakistan. New emphasis is also being given to develop frost resistant wheat varieties due to changing scenario of last few years. The institute is actively involved for the development of heat, drought and frost tolerant wheat varieties. During working for tolerance against any of these stresses plant types to be breed are physiologically and morphologically modeled in such a way that they should be capable of tolerating respective stress. In addition to breeding work an extensive research is also being done at Wheat Research Institute, AARI., Faisalabad to investigate best agronomic strategies to make wheat crop best adapted to environmental stress conditions.
Wheat is an important cereal crop and staple food in Pakistan. Most of the wheat is cultivated late after cotton, rice and sugarcane. Introduction of long duration Bt cotton varieties further pushed its sowing to late December or even early January. Late sowing of wheat crop results in yield loss in the Punjab province. A study has been conducted in experimental fields of Wheat Research Institute, AARI, Faisalabad, Pakistan to find out the possible reasons of low grain yields in late sown crop. Twelve experimental wheat lines were planted on seven sowing dates starting from 1st November to 30th December with ten days interval. The experimental design was a factorial combination of seven sowing dates as main plots and twelve varieties/ genotypes as subplots in a split-plot design with three replications. Effect of temperature on several crop growth stages was studied. Mean minimum temperature during the month of December, 2016 and January, 2017 remained below 5?C and mean maximum was more than 30?C during March 2017. Weather conditions experienced by the crop at each developmental stage were compared with the optimum conditions required on that specific stage in each sowing date. It was revealed that in late sown crop, different phonological/growth stages of the crop and yield components and grain yield were affected negatively. It was concluded from the study that the late sown crop suffered from two types of temperature stresses. The late sown crop faced low temperature stress at starting phase which result in delayed germination and low tillering. At caryopsis formation and grain filling the same crop face high temperature stress causing reduced grain formation and shriveled grains due to enforced maturity. Sowing of wheat at proper time i.e., by the end of November was recommended to fetch maximum yields.
Wheat is a major staple food in Pakistan and its production is subject to many yield limiting factors. Among biotic stresses, rusts have been the most devastating. Hence, the development of rust resistant genotype is the ultimate solution. The traditional approach of transferring resistant genes from wheat related species is time-consuming and laborious. It is complicated by the need to perform inoculation tests on plants in segregating populations, also requiring the application of appropriate races. Molecular markers could tag the presence of important resistance genes and allow breeders to identify the resistance genes rapidly and accurately. Therefore, use of molecular markers can help breeder in developing resistant wheat cultivars to minimize yield losses. To harvest the beauty of this system, 60 candidate wheat candidate varieties (included in provincial wheat yield trial) were screened against rusts using linked DNA markers for genes i.e. Lr-34/Yr-18, Lr-46/Yr-29, Lr-28, Lr-19, Sr-2 and Sr-32. Total genomic DNA was isolated and used as template in PCR for the verification of rust resistant genes. The gene Lr-34/Yr-18 was found present in one genotype and absent in 54 genotypes whereas one genotype was observed as heterozygote with respect to this gene. 49 candidate varieties for Lr-46/Yr-29, 03 for Lr-28, 56 for Lr-19, 38 for Sr-2 and 54 for Sr-32 were found positive showing presence of these genes in the new varieties. Missing entries were tested twice but no resistant gene(s) was detected. This information was shared with respective breeding institute to design the future research program. Furthermore, this molecular information was used for rust resistant gene pyramiding work to develop the durable resistance in wheat against rusts and crosses were attempted utilizing high yielding genotypes and genotypes carrying maximum rust resistance genes.
The new arrival of wheat rust pathotypes through migration during wheat cropping season requires regular monitoring to secure wheat production. In the present study, we collected leaf rust (Puccinia triticina Eriks.) infected wheat leaves from three major wheat growing provinces of Pakistan in the year 2014 to assess the haplotype diversity of P. triticina (Pt) isolates. The rDNA ITS sequence data of collected isolates was used in NCBI BLAST analysis. The blast hits showed best matches with Pt accessions EU014050 (Iran), JN120331 (Iran), JX533577 (Iran), AY956549 (Iran), DQ417412 (Czech Republic), DQ417418 (Israel), DQ417413 (Slovakia) and AF511083 (Louisiana). However, in cluster analysis, the Pakistani isolates showed strong bootstrap support with only Iranian and Indian (races 77-5 & 104-4) accessions that indicated eastward migratory mode of Pt pathotypes in Pakistan through westerly wind patterns. The predominant genotype DQ417412 (similar in alignment with AY956549 from Iran) overcome the resistance of top Pakistan mega varieties Seher06, Inqilab91, Kiran95, SKD1, TJ83 and NIFA-Batoor. Hence, the ITS based information remains a rapid molecular tool for pathogen surveillance across countries and continents.
Yellow rust caused by Puccinia striiformis is an important disease in Pakistan. The population structure of P. striiformis in the North Eastern Himalayan region of Pakistan have been shown to be genotypically diverse with potential role of sexual recombination (Ali et al., 2014b), while lesser diversity in the Southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)(Khan et al., 2015). This study was designed for the first time to assess disease status and analyze population structure of P. striiformis across three distant parts of Northwestern Pakistan i.e., Bajaur in North Western Agency and Swat and Buner in Malakand Agency, and was compared with other Pakistani populations. Depending on the intensity of infections caused by the pathogen in the tested varieties and breeding lines, the severity of the disease ranged from 5% to 100% during 2015. Yellow rust severity was the maximum on Morocco (100%), Gomal (100%) and KPWYT-18 (80%) and moderate on Ghanimat-e-IBGE (10%) and PS-2008, PS-2013, Tatara and Millat with 20% severity. A total of 81 single lesion samples collected on infected varieties were genotyped with 18 microsatellite markers. From these, 63 distinct multilocus genotypes (MLGs) were detected; 15 single lesion samples collected from Buner produced 15 distinct MLGs signifying very high diversity. A high genotypic diversity with clear signature of recombination was detected across all the three locations. Buner (100%) had the maximum diversity followed by Swat (97%) and Bajaur (91%). The observed diversity was almost equal to other Northeastern Himalayan populations of Pakistan, while it was high when compared to some southern populations of KP (genotypic diversity of 0.895) and other worldwide clonal populations (Ali et al., 2014a). The high diversity and recombinant population structure suggested potential role of sexual reproduction in these areas, which needs to be further explored to establish the origin of diverse virulence pattern in Pakistan.
Wheat plays a vital role in multifaceted farming system of Pakistan. Like other many other countries, Pakistan's sustainable wheat production is also continuously threatened by a number of biotic and abiotic stresses. Among the biotic stresses, three rust diseases of wheat have been the most devastating. Stem rust was effectively controlled with adoption of the semi-dwarf spring wheats of the Green Revolution. However, the threat of the evolution of Ug99 race of stem rust in East Africa and its migration to Iran cannot be neglected. The Chance of of Ug99 migrating from Iran into Pakistan, coupled with the presence of dangerous new races of stripe and leaf rusts invites enormous efforts for development of rust resistant varieties for sustainable production of the wheat in the country. In this regard the Wheat Program, NARC, Pakistan initiated an intensive breeding program with financial and technical support of USDA and CIMMYT. Diverse sources of resistance to the three rusts particularly to the stem rust race Ug99 were introduced from CIMMYT. Through the rigorous selection procedure, four rusts resistant wheat varieties (NARC 2011, Pakistan 2013, Zincol 2016 and Borlaug 2016) have been released. These varieties are also resistant to Ug99. The varieties i.e. NARC 2011, Borlaug 2016 and Zincol 2016 are performing well in irrigated areas whereas Pakistan 2013 is suitable for rainfed conditions. The variety Zincol 2016 has high Zn content (35 ppm) in grain as compared to national standard check variety (25 ppm). These varieties are not only higher yielding but also possess good grain quality and other desirable traits. A considerable quantity of seed of the varieties is already present in the national seed system and will reduce the risk of Ug99 threat.
Evaluation of candidate lines to develop resistant varieties at multiplications in Pakistan is a regular activity which has been successfully done for many years. This approach assists in generation of future resistant cultivars around appropriate genes combinations thereby providing durable resistance outputs for wheat productivity. This year, National Uniform Wheat Yield Trial (NUWYT) comprised of 60 candidate lines. Among these 15 lines were also present in the last years NUWYT. The two years data revealed that there was only one line V-12066 resistant to all three rusts during the two consecutive seasons 2015-16 and 2016-17. Four candidate lines NR-487, V-122557, PR-115 and NRL-1123 were found resistant to yellow and leaf rust during 2015-16 and 2016-17. A candidate line DN-111 was found resistant to leaf and stem rust. There were three lines NW-1-8183-8, NW-5-20-1 and MSH which were found resistant to leaf rust only during two consecutive seasons. Similarly, two candidate lines V-122559 and QS-3 were found resistant to stem rust only, while one line NR-443 was resistant to yellow rust only. The present study provide the screening and evaluation system of Pakistan for promoting and releasing the resistant wheat varieties.
Wheat is the most important cereal crop in Pakistan because it contributes major portions of daily calorie intake. Rust is an increasing threat to wheat production and ultimately food security in Asian countries. The purpose of the present study is to identify the suitable wheat lines that could significantly resist rust pathogen without compromising yield. 60 durum wheat lines, entered in preliminary and regular yield trials, were tested for various morphological and physiological traits along with adult plant disease reaction under natural rust infestation. Results indicated that there was higher incidence of yellow rust as compared to leaf rust as ten genotypes were susceptible to leaf rust. Whereas seven lines were moderately susceptible, 14 were moderately resistant and two were completely susceptible to yellow rust. These findings suggested that future breeding program should be directed towards the developments of resistant cultivars that could resist variable strains of rust pathogen under changing climatic conditions.
Rust disease response is used to assess the resistance status of breeding lines, which is required to be tested across location and complemented with molecular markers. The current study was designed to characterize yellow rust resistance in 29 introduced advanced CIMMYT wheat lines along with three check varieties across three contrasting wheat growing regions (Peshawar, Mansehra and Lakki-Marwat) during wheat season 2015-16. A high disease pressure was observed across all three locations as favorable cold and wet climatic conditions prevailed during 2015-16. The maximum disease was recorded at Mansehra (up to 90%) followed by Peshawar (up to 50%) and Lakki-Marwat (up to 45%). There was a significant variability amongst the tested wheat lines for yellow rust severity and in yield potential. Among the advanced lines, W-SA-104, W-SA-115 and W-SA-118 had better grain and biological yield. Based on disease and yield parameters, cluster analysis of 29 wheat lines along with three checks grouped wheat lines into four clusters. None of these wheat lines showed resistance at every location (Average coefficient of infection "ACI" = 0). The maximum co-efficient of infection (55) was recorded at Mansehra whereas the minimum (0) was recorded at Peshawar and Lakki-Marwat. Twenty-six of these wheat lines were identified to possess partial resistance to yellow rust (with ACI < 20). Genotyping for the presence of resistance gene markers STS-7 (linked with Yr5), SC-Y15 (linked with Yr17) and Xwmc-44 (linked with Yr29) revealed the highest frequency of Yr17 (90.60%), followed by Yr29 (87.5%) and Yr5 (50%). The three resistant genes together were present only in 15 wheat lines (46.87%). Our results thus revealed the presence of variation in resistance response based on both field testing and molecular markers which could be utilized in wheat breeding to develop better resistance varieties to be exploited at field level.