Wheat stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt), is a significant disease limiting wheat yield in Ethiopia. Wheat varieties such as 'Digalu' with single major-effect stem rust resistance genes have not exhibited durable resistance in Ethiopia. Identifying wheat lines with adult plant resistance (APR) has been proposed as a strategy to select for durable resistance. Our objective was to test the hypothesis that APR to stem rust is non-race-specific. We selected 31 wheat lines (including 10 durum and 21 bread wheat lines) that were susceptible as seedlings to Pgt races TTKSK, TKTTF, and TRTTF. These 31 wheat lines and Digalu were evaluated in 2014 and 2015 at the Kulumsa Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia. The lines were planted in 1 m rows and replicated twice in separate single-race-inoculated nurseries. The three single-race nurseries inoculated with Pgt races TTKSK, TKTTF, and TRTTF were separated by at least 100 m and included selective spreaders. Plot yield, thousand kernel weight (TKW), and visual disease responses were measured for each plot. We used a least-squared means test to detect differences in coefficient of infection and TKW of each line across paired race comparisons. Lines 'Park', 'CI11469', and 'CI12818' displayed significantly different coefficient of infections between races TTKSK and TRTTF. For CI11469 and CI12818, this difference was validated by significant differences in TKW. Significant differences in TKW were also detected between various race comparisons for 'ETHBW019', 'CI14798', 'CI15159', 'CI14618', and 'CI14094'. Our data demonstrated that APR in the selected germplasm was largely non-race-specific, but there were exceptions where race-specificity of APR was detected. These results have implications for resistance breeding and monitoring: testing of breeding material against prevalent Pgt races in target environments, not relying only on hotspot screening locations, and careful monitoring of deployed APR varieties are all warranted.
Detection of race-specificity of adult plant resistance to wheat stem rust
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