In China, wheat is grown on approximately 24 million hectares with an annual yield of 100 million tonnes. Stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, is a threat mainly to spring wheat in northeastern China. Leaf rust, caused by P. triticina, occurs on crops in the late growth stages in the Yellow-Huai-Hai River regions. Stripe rust, caused by P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is destructive in all winter wheat regions and is considered the most important disease of wheat in China. During the last 20 years, widespread stripe rust epidemics occurred in 2002, 2003, and 2009, and localized epidemics occurred in many other years. In recent years, major yield losses were prevented by widespread and timely applications of fungicides based on accurate monitoring and prediction of disease epidemics. A total of 68 Pst races or pathotypes have been identified using a set of 19 differential wheat genotypes. At present, races CYR32 and CYR33 virulent to resistance genes Yr9, Yr3b, Yr4b, YrSu and some other resistance genes are predominant. Moreover, these races are virulent on many cultivars grown in recent years. Of 501 recent cultivars and breeding lines 71.9% were susceptible, 7.0% had effective all-stage resistance, mostly Yr26 (= Yr24), and 21.2% had adult-plant resistance. Several resistance genes, including Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr24/Yr26, YrZH84 and some unnamed genes, are still effective against the current Pst population. All have been widely used in breeding programs. Lines with one or more of Yr1, Yr2, Yr3, Yr4, Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr9 and other unnamed resistance genes are susceptible to currently predominant races. Durable adult plant resistance sources are being increasingly used as parents in breeding programs. Progress has been made in genomics and population genetics of Pst, molecular mapping of resistance genes, and cytological and molecular mechanisms of the host-pathogen interactions involved in stripe rust.
Status of wheat rust research and control in China
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