Northern Kazakhstan and Western Siberia are major high latitude spring wheat growing regions on the Eurasian continent. Rust epidemics can cause serious crop losses in this region. For this purpose, the Kazakhstan-Siberian network for wheat improvement (KASIB) was created in 2000. Seventy wheat cultivars and lines from a KASIB nursery were characterized for seedling and adult plant resistance (APR) to leaf rust using Australian pathotypes in greenhouse and field experiments. A molecular marker (STS iag95) detecting 1RS and therefore genes located in the rye component of the 1BL.1RS translocation was used to verify the presence/absence of Lr26. Field assessments of the nursery were conducted at Cobbitty using mixed Pt pathotypes. Lr26 was detected in five cultivars (Bayterek, GVK-1916-9, Altayskaya 105, Ok-1, and Omskaya 36) based on seedling tests using seven pathotypes. This was confirmed using the SRS marker. Other genes postulated included Lr3a (in cv. GVK 1860/8, GVK 1369/2, GVK 1857/9, and GVK 1526-2) and uncharacterized gene/s in cv. Zhenis and Lutescens-166 SP 94). The majority of KASIB entries were susceptible in seedling tests to Pt, but varying levels of potentially useful resistance were observed in 23 genotypes tested in the field. Low infection types on seedlings and field resistance in cv. Tertsia, Aria, and Sonata suggested the presence of unknown gene/s of potential value that warrant further investigation. Future efforts to breed wheat varieties resistant to one or more of the cereal rust pathogens will require identification of resistance sources that differ from those already present. Understanding the dynamics of pathogenic variability in pathogen populations is also important in selecting appropriate resistances.
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