Deployment of Adult Plant Resistance genes for durable stripe rust and leaf rust resistance in Canadian durum wheat

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018

  • Funding Amount: $ 311,547

  • Lead Researcher(s): Pierre Fobert (National Research Council, Canada)

  • Funding Partners: N/A

Project Description

The goal of this project is to accelerate the deployment of Adult Plant Resistance genes (APRs) for stripe (Yr) and leaf rust (Lr) resistance in Canadian durum wheat and to evaluate their effectiveness under Canadian field conditions.

Accounting for 15% of the wheat acreage, Canada Western Amber Durum is the second largest class of wheat grown in Canada. By 2020, crop production is targeted to increase by 10 million tonnes as part of Saskatchewan’s Plan for Growth. Stabilizing and increasing crop yield, including those of durum wheat, will be critical towards meeting this objective. Breeders have relied on race-specific rust resistance genes (R genes) and most of the known rust genes in bread and durum wheat are R genes. R genes against leaf rust do not provide protection against stripe rust or other diseases. In contrast, Adult Plant Resistance (APR) genes confer partial resistance but are not specific to any pathogen race and have proven to be more durable than R genes. Given the increased incidence of stripe rust and leaf rust, pyramiding of the most effective APRs and R genes are a priority for the industry to protect wheat yield from the emerging, more aggressive rust races. For stripe rust, the needs are more immediate, as the rapid evolution of the pathogen is being detected in Canada and new regulations mandate varieties possess a threshold level of resistance. Current resistance in Canadian durum germplasm is insufficient to protect the crop against virulent races such as BBG/BP should they migrate along the North-American rust corridor or develop in the prairies.

Thus, the project aims to pre-empt such a costly and disruptive occurrence to the Canadian durum wheat programs can potentially safe millions of dollars in losses. The current proposal builds on the accomplishments of an Agricultural Development Fund - Canadian Wheat Alliance project on rust resistance. The main objectives include, identification of most effective APRs for Canadian durum breeding programs; introgression of APRs and Lr genes effective against BBG/BP leaf rust races in Canadian breeding and mapping populations; identification of Lr genes effective against Canadian races of leaf rust; and identification of the most efficient gene pyramids for multiple rust resistance in durum.