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A Genome-Wide Association Study of Resistance to Stripe Rust (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) in a Worldwide Collection of Hexaploid Spring Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)


New races of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), the causal pathogen of wheat stripe rust, show high virulence to previously deployed resistance genes and are responsible for large yield losses worldwide. To identify new sources of resistance we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using a worldwide collection of 1000 spring wheat accessions. Adult plants were evaluated under field conditions in six environments in the western United States, and seedlings were tested with four Pst races. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) Infinium 9K-assay provided 4585 SNPs suitable for GWAS. High correlations among environments and high heritabilities were observed for stripe rust infection type and severity. Greater levels of Pst resistance were observed in a subpopulation from Southern Asia than in other groups. GWAS identified 97 loci that were significant for at least three environments, including 10 with an experiment-wise adjusted Bonferroni probability < 0.10. These 10 quantitative trait loci (QTL) explained 15% of the phenotypic variation in infection type, a percentage that increased to 45% when all QTL were considered. Three of these 10 QTL were mapped far from previously identified Pst resistance genes and QTL, and likely represent new resistance loci. The other seven QTL mapped close to known resistance genes and allelism tests will be required to test their relationships. In summary, this study provides an integrated view of stripe rust resistance resources in spring wheat and identifies new resistance loci that will be useful to diversify the current set of resistance genes deployed to control this devastating disease.

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