Building on past success: furthering our understanding of wheat stripe rust to mitigate disease and improve resistance

The main focus of this project is on characterizing the rust pathogen population along with the identification of new durable rust resistance genes from wheat relatives.

  • Term:  3 year, beginning 2019

  • Funding Amount: $ 129,413

  • Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Randy Kutcher (University of Saskatchewan)

  • Funding Partners: Alberta Wheat Commission, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association, and Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture -Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

The main focus of this project is on characterizing the rust pathogen population along with the identification of new durable rust resistance genes from wheat relatives.

Stripe rust, also known as yellow rust, is one of the most common and important diseases of cereals worldwide, and the emergence of novel, warm temperature adapted aggressive races of stripe rust are currently causing epidemics on the Canadian prairies, and in other countries. Stripe rust does not cause economic loss every year, but new races can cause huge losses in any given year. The majority of Canadian wheat cultivars carry the adult plant resistance genes which are not effective enough to prevent an epidemic under high disease pressure, and warmer climates. Thus, there is a need to develop resistant cultivars by combining all-stage, and adult-plant resistance to confer durable resistance.

The aim is to regularly examine stripe rust races for next 3-4 years, and identify effective wheat resistance genes to the most predominant races to use in breeding programs. Additionally, the team will also identify, and clone new resistance genes in wheat wild relatives, and generate perfect molecular markers for use in public wheat breeding programs.  The development of stripe rust resistant wheat cultivars is the ultimate goal of the project which should minimize the use of fungicides, thus saving millions of dollars for western Canadian wheat growers.