Association mapping of durable resistance to wheat rust diseases
Yellow rust and brown rust are two of the UK’s major wheat diseases and failure to control them can result in yield losses of up to 40%. However, many of the race-specific resistances used by breeders in UK varieties remain unmapped and the relative contribution of race-specific and partial genetic resistance to the overall performance of a variety in the field is still poorly understood. The project seeks to address this knowledge gap by exploiting a new and unique scientific opportunity to use association genetics to rapidly reveal and precisely map the genes contributing to specific and partial (basal) rust resistance. A panel of contemporary and historic UK wheat varieties which have been extensively tested for phenotypic reaction to hundreds of rust isolates under the auspices of the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey, which has been running since 1967, will be assembled and genotyped using the latest high throughput wheat marker technologies. A relational database will be constructed to facilitate interactive data analysis and detection of statistical associations between quantitative adult plant resistance and DNA markers. Novel loci will be investigated in further genetic and phenotypic detail.