Marker assisted pyramiding of pleiotropic and novel resistance loci to stripe and other rust diseases in adapted CWRS wheat

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018

  • Funding Amount: $ 422,400

  • Lead Researcher(s): Richard Cuthbert (Agriculture and Agri Food Canada)

  • Funding Partners: N/A

Project Description

This research builds on the findings from previous projects on identification of novel quantitative rust resistant gene(s) for leaf, stem and stripe rust funded by Ministry of Agriculture, Western Grains Research Foundation and Agriculture Agri Food Canada at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre. The main focus is to stack those resistant genes identified individually for major rust diseases in to a single genotype, with the aid of markers to obtain enhanced and durable resistance to more than one fungal disease species including the aggressive strains of stripe rust and new Ug99 races of stem rust.

Stripe rust, leaf rust and stem rust are among the most widespread and economically important diseases of wheat in many regions. Rust in recent years has become a renewed threat to production of wheat on the Canadian prairies with the presence of new more aggressive strains of stripe rust and continually developing more virulent races of leaf rust. Furthermore, production is threatened from the introduction of more virulent strains from other geographic locations such Ug99 races from Africa. Rust spores can be disseminated thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans by wind necessitating pre-emptive resistance breeding. Breeding for disease resistant varieties is a continuous process because new races of each of the rust species are constantly evolving and overcoming race-specific plant resistance. To provide durable resistance, multiple resistance genes must be incorporated into a genotype in a process called gene pyramiding /stacking.

Thus, the objective is to develop wheat breeding lines carrying pyramided rust resistance loci by applying marker assisted selection; and to validate the pyramided breeding lines through field phenotyping using Canadian and contra season nurseries. Ultimately combined stripe, leaf and stem rust resistant cultivars will fill gaps in resistance of currently registered cultivars and improve the security and economic well-being of wheat production on the Canadian Prairies.