Detection of rust resistance in selected Zimbabwean and ICARDA bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) germplasm using conventional and molecular techniques
Host resistance is the most effective and economical method to minimize yield losses caused by rusts. The aim of this study was to detect the presence of resistance in 75 wheat genotypes. The presence of the genes viz. Sr2, Sr24, Lr34, Lr37, Lr46 and Lr68 was investigated using simple sequence repeat and sequence tagged site markers. Quantitative aspects of resistance to leaf rust were assessed through infection response (IR), disease severity (DS), coefficient of infection (CI), disease incidence (DI), leaf tip necrosis (Ltn) and area under disease progress curve (AUDPC) under natural epidemics. Highly significant (p <0.001) differences were observed among the genotypes for CI, DI, AUDPC and relative AUDPC (rAUDPC). Twenty genotypes exhibited high levels of adult plant resistance, recording CI less than 20% and AUDPC less than 300%, with moderately susceptible to susceptible reactions. The most frequently occurring gene was Lr46 (21%), followed by Lr68 (20%), Lr34 (19%) andLr37 (11%). The stem rust resistance gene Sr24 was absent in all the genotypes. Selection for Lr34 and Lr46 based on Ltn alone can sometimes be misleading because of its variable expression in different genetic backgrounds.