Wheat is a major staple food in Pakistan and its production is subject to many yield limiting factors. Among biotic stresses, rusts have been the most devastating. Hence, the development of rust resistant genotype is the ultimate solution. The traditional approach of transferring resistant genes from wheat related species is time-consuming and laborious. It is complicated by the need to perform inoculation tests on plants in segregating populations, also requiring the application of appropriate races. Molecular markers could tag the presence of important resistance genes and allow breeders to identify the resistance genes rapidly and accurately. Therefore, use of molecular markers can help breeder in developing resistant wheat cultivars to minimize yield losses. To harvest the beauty of this system, 60 candidate wheat candidate varieties (included in provincial wheat yield trial) were screened against rusts using linked DNA markers for genes i.e. Lr-34/Yr-18, Lr-46/Yr-29, Lr-28, Lr-19, Sr-2 and Sr-32. Total genomic DNA was isolated and used as template in PCR for the verification of rust resistant genes. The gene Lr-34/Yr-18 was found present in one genotype and absent in 54 genotypes whereas one genotype was observed as heterozygote with respect to this gene. 49 candidate varieties for Lr-46/Yr-29, 03 for Lr-28, 56 for Lr-19, 38 for Sr-2 and 54 for Sr-32 were found positive showing presence of these genes in the new varieties. Missing entries were tested twice but no resistant gene(s) was detected. This information was shared with respective breeding institute to design the future research program. Furthermore, this molecular information was used for rust resistant gene pyramiding work to develop the durable resistance in wheat against rusts and crosses were attempted utilizing high yielding genotypes and genotypes carrying maximum rust resistance genes.
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