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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » WHGQ » Research » Research Project #432638

Research Project: Improving Control of Stripe Rusts of Wheat and Barley through Characterization of Pathogen Populations and Enhancement of Host Resistance

Location: Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research

Project Number: 2090-22000-018-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 28, 2017
End Date: Mar 27, 2022

Stripe rust is one of the most important diseases of wheat throughout the U.S. and stripe rust of barley causes significant yield losses in western U.S. Significant progress has been made in understanding biology of the pathogen, virulence compositions of the pathogen population, identification of new sources of resistance, disease forecasting, and control of the disease using fungicides. However, research is needed to develop more effective strategies for sustainable control of stripe rusts. Therefore, this project has the following objectives for the next five years: Objective 1: Monitor and characterize stripe rust pathogen populations for providing essential information to growers for implementing appropriate measures to reduce damage on wheat and barley. Subobjective 1A: Identify virulent races of stripe rust pathogens to determine effectiveness of resistance genes in wheat and barley. Subobjective 1B: Develop molecular markers and characterize stripe rust pathogen populations to identify factors and mechanisms of pathogen dynamics for developing new management strategies. Objective 2: Enhance resistance in wheat and barley cultivars for sustainable control of stripe rusts. Subobjective 2A: Identify and map new genes for stripe rust resistance, and develop new germplasm for use in breeding programs. Subobjective 2B: Screen breeding lines for supporting breeding programs to develop wheat and barley cultivars with adequate and durable resistance to stripe rust. Accomplishment of these objectives will lead to improved knowledge of the disease epidemiology for developing more effective control strategies, more resistance genes and resistant germplasm to be used by breeders to develop stripe rust resistant wheat and barley cultivars, and more effective technology to be used by wheat and barley growers to achieve sustainable control of stripe rust.

Monitoring the prevalence, severity, and distribution of stripe rust and identify races of the pathogens, commercial fields, monitoring nurseries, trap plots, and experimental plots of wheat and barley, as well as wild grasses, will be surveyed during the plant growing-season. Recommendations will be made based on stripe rust forecasts and survey data to control stripe rust on a yearly basis. Rust samples will be collected by collaborators and ourselves during surveys and data-recording of commercial fields, experimental plots, and monitoring nurseries. Stripe rust samples will be tested in our laboratory for race identification. New races will be tested on genetic stocks, commercial cultivars, and breeding lines to determine their impact on germplasm and production of wheat and barley. Isolates of stripe rust pathogens will also be characterized using various molecular markers to determine population structure changes. To identify new genes for resistance to stripe rust in wheat, the mapping populations, which have been and will be developed in our laboratory, will be phenotyped for response to stripe rust in fields and/or greenhouse and genotyped using different approaches and marker techniques such as simple sequence repeat (SSR), single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and /or genotyping by sequencing (GBS) markers. Linkage maps will be constructed with the genotype data using software Mapmaker and JoinMap. Genes conferring qualitative resistance will be mapped using the phenotypic and genotypic data using JoinMap or MapDisto, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping will be conducted using the composite interval mapping program in the WinQTL Cartographer software. Relationships of genes or QTL to previous reported stripe rust genes will be determined based on chromosomal locations of tightly linked markers, type of resistance and race spectra, and origins of the resistance gene donors. Allelism tests will be conducted with crosses made between lines with potentially new gene with previously reported genes in the same chromosomal arms to confirm the new genes. A homozygous line carrying a identified new gene with improved plant type and agronomic traits will be selected from the progeny population using both rust testing and molecular markers. Lines with combinations of two genes in a same chromosome will be selected and confirmed using phenotypic and marker data. The new germplasm lines will be provided to breeding programs for developing resistant cultivars. To support breeding programs for developing cultivars with stripe rust resistance, wheat and barley nurseries will be evaluated in two locations: Pullman (eastern Washington) and Mount Vernon (western Washington) under natural infection of the stripe rust pathogens. Variety trials and uniform regional nurseries will also be tested in seedling and adult-plant stages with selected races of the stripe rust pathogen under controlled greenhouse conditions. The data will be provided to breeding programs for releasing new cultivars with adequate level and potentially durable stripe rust resistance.