Location: Hard Winter Wheat Genetics Research Unit
2013 Annual Report
In order to produce commercially competitive varieties of the future, new stem rust resistance genes must be incorporated into a forward breeding program. In addition, a backcross breeding program is required both for parent-building and as a hedge if commercially acceptable resistant varieties are needed in the short term. Rapid breeding methods, such as doubled haploids, will be needed to achieve results as quickly as possible.
Phenotypic selection for resistance using common North American races will be difficult in most backgrounds due to the high frequency of endemic stem rust resistance genes. Therefore, marker-assisted selection for new resistance genes will be necessary. Molecular markers are available or under development for virtually all new sources of stem rust resistance. Marker genotypes will be generated locally or in a high throughput facility at the USDA-ARS Regional Small Grains Genotyping Laboratory in Manhattan, KS. Resistance of advanced lines against African races of stem rust will be confirmed by field testing at cooperative research facilities in Kenya or at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory. Testing for agronomic traits, yield, and quality will be performed as usual by the breeding program.
In 2012, we made 55 crosses that are targeted for 2-gene combinations and 22 crosses that are targeted for 3-gene combinations. All of these crosses are with lines confirmed to have Ug99 resistance and good agronomic type. The adapted parents used in the crosses are all High Plains HRW cultivars or advanced experimental lines from the Texas AgriLife Research breeding program. This past year, individual F1 seed from these 77 crosses were planted so that individual plants could be harvested. Between 5 and 23 individual plants were harvested from each of the 77 crosses, for a total of 1394 plants.
Seed from each of the 1394 plants will be planted in individual rows in the field nursery at Bushland, TX. These rows will be evaluated for agronomic type similar to the way we select our 1st year out of head row breeding trials. Remnant seed of each of the 1394 plants will be kept and analyzed with molecular markers in consultation with USDA-ARS-Manhattan. The molecular marker data and the field phenotype will be used to select the lines to advance.