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Genetics of stem rust resistance in South African winter wheat varieties

Most South African winter wheat varieties display all stage resistance (ASR) to stem rust caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt). To study inheritance, four resistant varieties were crossed to a susceptible parent (Line 37) and F2 populations were phenotyped at the seedling stage with stem rust race PTKST (Ug99 lineage). Populations derived from varieties Koonap, Komati, Limpopo and SST 387 segregated in a 3:1 ratio, indicating that a single, dominant gene confers resistance in each population. Assessment of F2 seedlings of four intercrosses between these varieties failed to deliver susceptible segregants therefore suggesting that they carry the same resistance gene. Genotyping of F2 plants with microsatellite markers produced consistent linkage of resistance with markers on chromosome 6DS. Experiments are underway to determine the relationship between resistance in the four winter wheat varieties and resistance genes Sr42, SrCad and SrTmp, all located on 6DS. Current evidence shows that ASR in the South African winter wheat varieties Koonap, Komati, Limpopo and SST 387 is based on a single gene and thus vulnerable to pathogenic adaptation in Pgt.

University of the Free State
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Liezel Herselman, Botma Visser, Willem Boshoff, Zacharias Pretorius
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