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GWAS of field and seedling response to individual Pgt races reveals combinations of race-specific genes in spring wheat

Stem rust of wheat caused by the fungal pathogen Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici historically caused major yield losses of wheat worldwide. To understand the genetic basis of stem rust resistance in contemporary North American spring wheat, genome-wide association analysis was conducted on 250 elite lines. The lines were evaluated in separate nurseries each inoculated with a different P. graminis f. sp. tritici race for three years (2013, 2015 and 2016) at Rosemount, Minnesota. The lines were also challenged with the same four races at the seedling stage in a greenhouse facility at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory. A total of 22,310 high-quality SNPs obtained from the Infinium 90,000 SNPs chip were used to perform association analysis. Markers strongly associated with resistance to the four races at seedling and field environments were identified. At the seedling stage, the most significant marker-trait associations were detected in the regions of known major genes (Sr6, Sr7a and Sr9b) except for race QFCSC where a strong association was detected on chromosome arm 1AL. Markers presumably linked to Sr6 and Sr7a were associated with both seedling and field resistance to specific races. A field resistance QTL on chromosome arm 2DS was detected for response to races RCRSC and TPMKC. A QTL specific to field resistance was detected for QFCSC and TPMKC on 2BL. The markers that showed strong association signals may be useful to pyramid and track race-specific stem rust resistance genes in wheat breeding programs. We postulated the presence of Sr2, Sr6, Sr7a, Sr8a, Sr9b, Sr11, Sr12, Sr24, Sr25, Sr31, and Sr57 (Lr34) in this germplasm based on phenotypic and marker data. We found that combinations of genes conferring resistance to specific P. graminis f. sp. tritici races accounts for the prevalent stem rust resistance in North American spring wheat.

University of Minnesota
Michael Pumphrey, Matthew Rouse
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Achieving durable rust resistance in wheat through deployment of major and minor genes

Stripe rust and leaf rust have been major constraints to wheat production in Nepal since the 1960s. Several rust epidemics causing hardship for Nepalese wheat growers were due to race changes. Breeding for rust resistance was initiated with establishment of the National Wheat Research Program in 1972, but concerted searches for durable resistance came later with the introduction of wheat genetic resources from CIMMYT, Mexico. The early wheat varieties Nepal 297, Siddhartha, Vinayak, BL1473, BL 1022 and Annapurna series with leaf rust and stripe rust resistance genes Lr13, Lr23, Lr26 and Yr9, and Yr27 in the 1970s and 1980s succumbed to new races within a few years of release. However, Bhrikuti (CMT/COC75/3/PLO/FURY/ANA) with both major and minor gene combinations (Lr10, Lr14a, Lr26/Yr9/Sr31+ and Lr34/Yr18) and released in 1994 was unaffected by Yr9 virulence in 1997 and Yr27 virulence in 2004. This variety with >20 years of leaf rust and stripe rust protection continues to be the most popular wheat variety in Nepal. Three other varieties, Gautam (Siddhartha/Ning8319//Nepal 297) released in 2004, WK 1204 (SW89-3064/Star) released in 2007, and Pasang Lhamu (PGO/SERI) released in 1997 with Lr16, Lr26/Yr9/Sr31, Lr34/Yr18, Lr46/Yr29, Yr7, and Sr2 also remain resistant. The Ug99 resistant varieties Vijay (NL748/NL837), Danphe(KIRITATI//2*PBW65/2*SERI.1B) and Tilottama (Francolin#1 = Waxwing*2/Vivitsi) also possesses APR to the three rusts. Nepalese wheat researchers work closely with the CIMMYT Global Wheat Program and DRRW/BGRI to utilize knowledge and APR germplasm. Strong networks for participatory varietal selection involving women farmers in both the hills and terai help in faster adoption and in establishing varietal diversity. In summary, Nepalese wheat breeders have successfully used APR in protecting wheat crops.

Agriculture Botany Division, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Nepal
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