Wheat is an important food security crop in central Asia but frequently suffers severe damage and yield losses from insect pests, pathogens, and weeds. With funding from the United States Agency for International Development, a team of scientists from three U.S. land-grant universities in collaboration with the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas and local institutions implemented an integrated pest management (IPM) demonstration program in three regions of Tajikistan from 2011 to 2014. An IPM package was developed and demonstrated in farmer fields using a combination of crop and pest management techniques including cultural practices, host plant resistance, biological control, and chemical approaches. The results from four years of demonstration/research indicated that the IPM package plots almost universally had lower pest abundance and damage and higher yields and were more profitable than the farmer practice plots. Wheat stripe rust infestation ranged from 30% to over 80% in farmer practice plots, while generally remaining below 10% in the IPM package plots. Overall yield varied among sites and years but was always at least 30% to as much as 69% greater in IPM package plots. More than 1,500 local farmers—40% women—were trained through farmer field schools and field days held at the IPM demonstration sites. In addition, students from local agricultural universities participated in on-site data collection. The IPM information generated by the project was widely disseminated to stakeholders through peer-reviewed scientific publications, bulletins and pamphlets in local languages, and via Tajik national television.
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Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia triticina, is a common wheat disease worldwide. Developing resistant cultivars through deploying new or pyramiding resistance genes in a suitable line, is the most effective approach to control this disease. However, to stack genes in a genotype, efficient and reliable markers are required. In the present study, F2 plants and their corresponding F3 families from a cross between the resistant line; Thatcher (Tc) Lr18, and the susceptible cultivar ‘Boolani’ were used to map rust resistance gene, Lr18 using SSR markers on chromosome 5BL of hexaploid wheat. The P. triticina pathotype no 15 was used to inoculate plants. Out of 20 primers tested, eight showed polymorphism between the two parents and were subsequently genotyped in the entire F2 population. The markers Xgpw7425 and Xwmc75 flanked the locus at a distance of 0.3 and 1.2 cM, respectively. Analysis of 81 genotypes from different backgrounds with these two markers confirmed their usefulness in screening absence or presence of Lr18. Therefore, these markers can be used for gene postulation and marker-assisted selection (MAS) of this gene in wheat breeding programs in future.
Stem rust is one of the most important diseases of wheat in the world. When single stem rust resistance (Sr) genes are deployed in wheat, they are often rapidly overcome by the pathogen. To this end, we initiated a search for novel sources of resistance in diverse wheat relatives and identified the wild goatgrass species Aegilops sharonesis (Sharon goatgrass) as a rich reservoir of resistance to wheat stem rust. The objectives of this study were to discover and map novel Sr genes in Ae. sharonensis and to explore the possibility of identifying new Sr genes by genome-wide association study (GWAS). We developed two biparental populations between resistant and susceptible accessions of Ae. sharonensis and performed QTL and linkage analysis. In an F6 recombinant inbred line and an F2 population, two genes were identified that mapped to the short arm of chromosome 1Ssh, designated as Sr-1644-1Sh, and the long arm of chromosome 5Ssh, designated as Sr-1644-5Sh. The gene Sr-1644-1Sh confers a high level of resistance to race TTKSK (a member of the Ug99 race group), while the gene Sr-1644-5Sh conditions strong resistance to TRTTF, another widely virulent race found in Yemen. Additionally, GWAS was conducted on 125 diverse Ae. sharonensis accessions for stem rust resistance. The gene Sr-1644-1Sh was detected by GWAS, while Sr-1644-5Sh was not detected, indicating that the effectiveness of GWAS might be affected by marker density, population structure, low allele frequency and other factors.