Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) race TKTTF was reported as the dominant race in the wheat stem rust epidemics in Ethiopia during 2014–15 (Olivera et al. 2015). The race and variants hereof have also been recorded elsewhere in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe (www.wheatrust.org/stem-rust-tools-maps-and-charts/race-frequency-map). Here, we report the presence of additional virulence to Sr25 in the TKTTF population, a resistance gene transferred to several Australian and CIMMYT wheat genotypes. At the seedling stage, Sr25 confers infection type (IT) 2 or lower for isolates in the Ug99 race group and up to IT 2+ toward race TKTTF (Newcomb et al. 2016; Olivera et al. 2015). Our results are based on Pgt isolates of the TKTTF race from Ethiopia (2012, 2013, 2015), Egypt (2014), Azerbaijan (2014), Iran (2009, 2011, 2014), Iraq (2014), Lebanon, Sudan, and Turkey (2012), Denmark and Germany (2013), and Sweden (2014). Race typing was carried out at the Global Rust Reference Center according to Jin et al. (2008), except that we scored IT on both leaf 1 and 2; additional single pustule isolates of each sample were raised and stored in liquid nitrogen (–196°C). Sr25 response was assayed using seedling leaves and stems of adult plants of Misr1 (Oasis/Skauz//4*BCN/3/2*Pastor) and Agatha/9*LMPG (Sr25 carriers) along with two reference lines, Triumph 64 (SrTmp) and NA101/MqSr7a (Sr7a), and Morocco as a control. Seedling ITs were scored 17 days post-inoculation at 18 ± 2°C using a 0 to 4 scale (McIntosh et al. 1995). Isolates showing ITs of 33+ to 4 on Misr1, Agatha/9*LMPG, and susceptible check were considered Sr25 virulent, and clearly different from ITs conferred by Sr25 avirulent isolates. Results were confirmed for each isolate by race typing additional single-pustule isolates derived from cultivars Misr1 and/or Agatha, along with avirulent reference isolates. Virulence for Sr25 was observed in race TKTTF isolates from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, and Sweden, collected in 2014 or 2015, but not in any sample collected earlier than 2014. The results were confirmed on adult plants of Misr1 and Agatha/9*LMPG by Sr25 virulent and avirulent isolates of TKTTF, TTKSK, and TTKST, respectively. Spore suspensions of ∼0.5 ml at concentration of ∼3 × 105 spores/ml were injected into the stem internodes at Zadoks 45. The adult plant and seedling tests were carried out concurrently using the environmental conditions described above. The plants containing Sr25 were susceptible to the Sr25 virulent isolate and moderately resistant to moderately susceptible to the Sr25-avirulent isolates of TKTTF, TTKSK, and TTKST. The experiments were repeated two times with three replicates, using cv. Morocco as a susceptible check. Emergence of virulence to Sr25 in the race TKTTF is considered significant due to its spread into new areas and the potential loss of a significant source of resistance against Ug99.
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Wheat stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, can cause severe yield losses on susceptible wheat varieties and cultivars. Although stem rust can be controlled by the use of genetic resistance, population dynamics of P. graminis f. sp. tritici can frequently lead to defeat of wheat stem rust resistance genes. P. graminis f. sp. tritici race TKTTF caused a severe epidemic in Ethiopia on Ug99-resistant ‘Digalu’ in 2013 and 2014. The gene Sr11 confers resistance to race TKTTF and is present in ‘Gabo 56’. We identified seven single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers linked to Sr11 from a cross between Gabo 56 and ‘Chinese Spring’ exploiting a 90K Infinium iSelect Custom beadchip. Five SNP markers were validated on a ‘Berkut’/‘Scalavatis’ population that segregated for Sr11, using KBioscience competitive allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (KASP) assays. Two of the SNP markers, KASP_6BL_IWB10724 and KASP_6BL_IWB72471, were predictive of Sr11 among wheat genetic stocks, cultivars, and breeding lines from North America, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. These markers can be utilized to select for Sr11 in wheat breeding and to detect the presence of Sr11 in uncharacterized germplasm.
A severe stem rust epidemic occurred in southern Ethiopia during November 2013 to January 2014, with yield losses close to 100% on the most widely grown wheat cultivar, ‘Digalu’. Sixty-four stem rust samples collected from the regions were analyzed. A meteorological model for airborne spore dispersal was used to identify which regions were most likely to have been infected from postulated sites of initial infection. Based on the analyses of 106 single-pustule isolates derived from these samples, four races of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici were identified: TKTTF, TTKSK, RRTTF, and JRCQC. Race TKTTF was found to be the primary cause of the epidemic in the southeastern zones of Bale and Arsi. Isolates of race TKTTF were first identified in samples collected in early October 2013 from West Arsi. It was the sole or predominant race in 31 samples collected from Bale and Arsi zones after the stem rust epidemic was established. Race TTKSK was recovered from 15 samples from Bale and Arsi zones at low frequencies. Genotyping indicated that isolates of race TKTTF belongs to a genetic lineage that is different from the Ug99 race group and is composed of two distinct genetic types. Results from evaluation of selected germplasm indicated that some cultivars and breeding lines resistant to the Ug99 race group are susceptible to race TKTTF. Appearance of race TKTTF and the ensuing epidemic underlines the continuing threats and challenges posed by stem rust not only in East Africa but also to wider-scale wheat production.