Wild relatives of common wheat, Triticum aestivum, and related species are an important source of disease and pest resistance and several useful traits have been transferred from these species to wheat. C-banding and in situ hybridization analyses are powerful cytological techniques allowing the detection of alien chromatin in wheat. C-banding permits identification of the wheat and alien chromosomes involved in wheat-alien translocations, whereas genomic in situ hybridization analysis allows determination of their size and breakpoint positions. The present review summarizes the available data on wheat-alien transfers conferring resistance to diseases and pests. Ten of the 57 spontaneous and induced wheat-alien translocations were identified as whole arm translocations with the breakpoints within the centromeric regions. The majority of transfers (45) were identified as terminal translocations with distal alien segments translocated to wheat chromosome arms. Only two intercalary wheat-alien transloctions were identified, one induced by radiation treatment with a small segment of rye chromosome 6RL (H25) inserted into the long arm of wheat chromosome 4A, and the other probably induced by homoeologous recombination with a segment derived from the long arm of a group 7 Agropyron elongatum chromosome with Lr19 inserted into the long arm of 7D. The presented information should be useful for further directed chromosome engineering aimed at producing superior germplasm.
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