An integrated genomics approach to combat the wheat yellow rust pathogen

We will present an update on the BBSRC-funded SCPRID project “Maximizing the potential for sustainable and durable resistance to the wheat yellow rust pathogen”. This aims to understand the molecular basis of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST) pathogenicity and exploit this information to design effective breeding strategies that maximize the potential for durable disease resistance in the field. We have established a PST genomics platform through sequencing of PST genomes (UK, European, African, and Indian races) and analysis of expression time courses during infection (Cantu et al 2013). Using this platform we have characterised the PST effector complement, identified putative candidates and have begun their validation. The latest results of this will be presented. We have also evaluated a collection of hexaploid wheat landraces for resistance to PST across continents and have initiated single seed descent mapping populations and initial characterisation in F2:3 populations. We will exemplify the use of new genomic technologies to develop closely linked markers to enable deployment of resistance loci in breeding programmes (Ramirez-Gonzalez et al 2014). We will also provide an update of a new technique, called Field Pathogenomics (Hubbard et al 2015). This method uses transcriptome sequencing of PST-infected wheat leaves to describe pathogen diversity and also identify the host variety. This analysis uncovered a dramatic shift in the PST population in the UK and suggests a recent introduction of a diverse set of exotic PST lineages that may have displaced previous PST populations. •

Cristobal Uauy
John Innes Centre, UK
D.G.O Saunders, A. Dobon-Alonso, C. Lewis, J. Thomas, S. Holdgate, L. Boyd, R. Wanyera, M. Wamalwa, W. Denbel, S. Kidane Alemu, P. Chhuneja, S. Kaur, M. Bansal, D. Narang, M. Hovmoller and B. Wulff
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