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Progress in simultaneous selection for stable, high yielding, rust resistant wheat genotypes for Kenya

In the past decade Pgt race Ug99 and its variants have been a challenge to wheat production in Kenya. Towards identifying suitable varieties, 37 lines selected from rust screening nurseries and 3 checks were tested for yield and adult plant reaction to natural stem rust epidemics across 11 diverse Kenyan environments in 2013 and 2014. Trial locations were chosen to mainly represent key wheat growing areas as well as three new sites. Evaluations based on the AMMI linear-bilinear model indicated significant (P≤0.01) genotype (G), environment (E), and GE interactions with the first three principal components (PC) explaining ~70% of the observed variation. With a contribution of over 90% to total sum of squares, environment was the predominant source of variation and the genotypic effect was approximately twofold higher than the GE effect. Based on biplot projections, clusters of lines were most closely associated with specific environments. Biplots also pointed to at least five environments, clearly those in traditional wheat growing areas that were highly correlated and associated with positive PC suggesting a similar ability to discriminate genotypes. Each non-traditional testing environment was associated with negative PC and was uncorrelated in its discriminatory ability. Combined yield and stability results achieved through classifying genotypes based on Shukla’s stability variance and Kang’s stability rating, revealed four genotypes (R1357, R1362, R1372, and R1374) as desirable candidates. The hitherto popular variety Robin, used as the ‘best check’ for yield, posted an at least 10% lower yield relative to the highest yielding genotype (R1357). Moreover, Robin which was released as a high yielding variety with adult plant resistance in 2009, was not stable in performance across environments, perhaps due its current susceptibility to a new Pgt race (TTKTT) within the race Ug99 group, that is virulent to the SrTmp-based resistance.

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Kenya
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Mapping and verification of two QTL conferring adult plant resistance to Pgt race TTKSK (Ug99) and domestic U.S. races in the Ecuadorian wheat cv. Morocho Blanco

The durability of stem rust resistance in wheat varieties is strengthened by the use of polygenic, and broad-spectrum sources of resistance. Adult plant resistance (APR) was observed in the mid-20th century Ecuadorian bread wheat cv. Morocho Blanco (PI 286545) in field tests at Njoro, Kenya, and at St. Paul. Morocho Blanco was susceptible to races TTKSK, RCRSC and TPMKC at the seedling stage. A doubled haploid (DH) mapping population was created from a cross between Morocho Blanco and the susceptible line LMPG-6 to identify loci associated with APR phenotypes. Eighty-eight DH lines were genotyped with approximately 90,000 SNPs using a custom Infinium assay from Illumina. Sixty-seven additional DH lines were used to verify SNPs associated with reduced stem rust levels. Severity and infection type were assessed on adult plants at the stem rust screening facility in Kenya in 2013 and 2014, and in two single race nurseries inoculated with races RCRSC and TPMKC at St. Paul in 2014. Two identified and verified QTL reducing stem rust severity were located on chromosome arms 2BS and 6AS. The QTL on 6AS also reduced infection type at Njoro, but a similar reduction was not observed at St. Paul suggesting a genotype x environment or genotype x race interaction. The QTL on 2BS was associated with reduced stem rust severity at both Njoro and St. Paul. It is a strong candidate for use in breeding for APR to stem rust.

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, USA
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Genetic mapping of resistance to Puccinia graminis race TTKSK in Triumph 64

The stem rust resistance gene SrTmp carried by Triumph 64 confers resistance to Pgt race TTKSK and other members of the Ug99 race group. While some previous studies have mapped resistance postulated to be SrTmp, none used Triumph 64 as a parent. The purpose of this study was to genetically map SrTmp with DNA markers using a DH population from LMPG/Triumph 64 and compare the map position of SrTmp to previously mapped Sr genes. The DH population was tested with Pgt race TTKSK at the seedling stage. A single gene conditioned resistance to TTKSK (n = 144; χ21:1 = 0.44, p = 0.50). SrTmp was mapped to the distal region of chromosome 6DS with SSR markers. The map location of SrTmp was similar to SrCad and Sr42, which likely represent the same gene. In a concurrent study SNP markers were developed to fine-map SrCad.  SNP markers were identified and/or developed using a public SNP database ( and sequence information from an Aegilops tauschii genome sequencing project. Further SNP markers were developed by using resistance gene analogs from chromosome 6D to BLAST exome capture sequences from a set of Canadian wheat cultivars followed by searching for unique SNPs found in SrCad carriers. These SNP markers were added to the map of SrTmp. The map positions of SrTmp and SrCad/Sr42 are very similar. While preliminary data show functional differences between SrTmp and SrCad/Sr42, further analysis is needed to determine whether these genes are allelic or closely linked.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Cereal Research Centre, Canada
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Pyramiding genes Sr33, Sr35, Sr36, SrCad, and Sr43 for resistance to Ug99

Most of the current stem rust resistance genes (Sr) in Canadian wheat varieties are ineffective against the Pgt race Ug99 lineage, which pose a major threat to wheat production worldwide. Several stem rust resistance genes, including Sr33, Sr35, Sr36, SrCad/Sr42 and Sr43, are effective against race TTKSK. Although Sr36 is ineffective against Ug99 race TTTSK, it is still potentially useful for pyramiding genes to develop germplasm with durable stem rust resistance. For this purpose, we made crosses among RL5405 (Sr33), RL6099 (Sr35), Lang (Sr36), AC Cadillac (SrCad/Sr42), and RWG34 (Sr43) containing the respective Sr genes. A total of 54 doubled haploid (DH) lines were produced from the F1 from AC Cadillac/Lang//RWG34/RL5405, and 82 DH lines were obtained from RWG34/RL5405//RL6099. The DH progeny were tested at the seedling stage with race TTKSK and susceptible lines were discarded. We putatively developed 12 genotypes with multiple Sr gene combinations, including Sr33+Sr36+SrCad/Sr42+Sr43, Sr33+Sr36+SrCad/Sr42, Sr33+Sr36+Sr43, Sr33+SrCad/Sr42+Sr43, Sr36+SrCad/Sr42+Sr43, Sr35+Sr33+Sr43, Sr33+Sr36, Sr33+Sr43, Sr36+SrCad/Sr42, Sr36+Sr43, Sr35+Sr33, and Sr35+Sr43, based on positive association with  linked PCR markers. Another population with 63 DH lines was derived from (Hoffman*2/RL6099)//(Hoffman*2/Lang) to combine the Fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance of Hoffman (Fhb1) with Sr35 and Sr36. We found 17 of 63 DH lines containing both Sr35 and Sr36 based also on linked PCR markers. This indicated that the combination Sr35+Sr36 was pyramided into the Canadian cultivar Hoffman; this derivative will be useful for development of cultivars resistant to Ug99 and FHB in Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Canada
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