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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Biodiversity for stripe rust resistance in Turkish wheats

Final Activity Report Summary - BESTWHEATS (Biodiversity for Stripe Rust Resistance in Turkish Wheats)

The overall objective of the BESTWHEATS project was to assess the genetic variation for stripe rust resistance, also known as yellow rust, in Turkish winter wheat varieties compared to European ones. The project aimed to characterise the durability of the stripe rust resistance in different varieties and to place these resistances into genetically defined groups. All these objectives were achieved.

A hundred Turkish winter wheat varieties and 31 European ones were selected. The Turkish varieties represented current Turkish genotypes, being selected from different breeding programmes across Turkey and into Kazakhstan. The European wheat varieties represented the last eight decades of wheat breeding in Europe and all member states of the European Union.

Regarding seedling stripe rust tests, the Turkish and European wheat varieties were assessed for resistance to stripe rust at the seedling growth stage. Seedlings were inoculated with eight isolates of the fungal pathogen causing stripe rust, namely puccinia striiformis, each with a different virulence profile. The isolates were collected from the United Kingdom and northern Europe. Many of the Turkish varieties still carried seedling resistance to these eight isolates.

in order to perform field stripe rust tests, the Turkish and European winter wheat varieties were sown in the field in October 2005. In June 2006 they were assessed for stripe rust infection. While many of the European varieties were susceptible to the endemic United Kingdom stripe rust isolate population the majority of the Turkish varieties were still resistant.

In terms of the molecular marker assessment of genetic biodiversity for stripe rust resistance, all Turkish and European wheat varieties were screened with a Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) physical marker system that targeted variation in resistance genes within the plant. A total of 71 markers were identified. Analysis of the different patterns, i.e. presence or absence, that were generated by these 71 markers in the Turkish and European varieties allowed for their grouping depending on the similarity of marker patterns. The varieties with similar marker patterns were likely to carry the same source of resistance genes.

This marker analysis showed that the European wheat varieties fell within a distinct group, which was very different compared to the Turkish wheat varieties. The 100 Turkish varieties fell into five groups which reflected the different areas of Turkey and Kazakhstan from which the varieties had been collected.

In summary, the results suggested that the Turkish wheat varieties carried resistance genes to stripe rust that were still effective under United Kingdom conditions and were genetically distinct from the resistance genes that were present in European wheat varieties. These Turkish varieties could therefore provide a valuable source of new resistances to introduce into wheat varieties for United Kingdom and European agriculture. However, the high level of seedling resistance still present in these Turkish varieties should make one cautious, as some of this stripe rust resistance might be race-specific in nature and non-durable.