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Wheat Yellow Rust


Marker Assisted Selection and Genetic Study of Wheat Yellow Rust (Puccinia striiformis West.) Resistance

Tech Area / Field

  • AGR-PPR/Plant Protection/Agriculture
  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National Biotechnology Center of Kazakstan / Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • The Republican Government Enterprise on the basic of economic control rights “Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems” , Kazakstan, Gvardeiski


  • United States Department of Agriculture / Agricultural Research Service / Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology & Disease Research Unit, USA, WA, Pullman

Project summary

Yellow, or stripe, rust of wheat (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) is one of the most widespread and dangerous diseases of wheat. The region of Central Asia is one of the most important wheat areas in the world. Wheat is grown on 15 million ha. In this area, wheat stripe rust over the past few years is the major factor that adversely affects wheat yield and quality and causes considerable economic damage; yield losses reached 30-50%. During the epidemic of 2001-2002 the most high yielding widely grown wheats had severe stripe rust. The area affected by stripe rust was estimated to be as high as 1.5 million ha. Use of genetic host resistance is the most effective, economical and environmentally safe method of controlling stripe rust that allow to eliminate the use of fungicides and minimize crop losses from this disease. Effectiveness of the most known Yr-genes is break down due to changes of pathogen race composition. It is therefore necessary to choose new sources of resistance to yellow rust. Conventional breeding methods are not always effective, especially for such polygenic traits like non-race-specific disease resistance. In order to more reliably select and deploy disease resistance it is very important to use molecular-genetic markers tightly linked to this trait. In this proposal effective resistance genes using technique Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) will be identified, then they will be selected at recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and segregating hybrid population. Molecular markers should accelerate the development of wheat cultivars with superior and durable resistance by rapid identification of related genes and their transfer into cultivars by conventional crossing and progeny analysis using marker assisted selection.

The team of participants of this project (IPPB and RIBSP) is highly skilled specialists having necessary equipment and reputation for work at the international level. The scientists have number publications on direction of the offered project including papers published abroad. Project participants have taken part in several international projects. Investigations of genetics of rust resistance have been conducted since 1996. Effective in Central Asia resistance genes have identified. The genetic control of yellow rust resistance in a number of resistance sources has been studied. But it is necessary to deep the study of the mechanisms of rust resistance. Participants from IPBB, in collaboration with department of Plant Pathology of Washington State University (USDA-ARS, WSU, Pullman, WA, USA) obtained some results from testing Kazakh wheat cultivars for resistance to races of P. striiformis f. sp. tritici that are currently prevalent in the USA. In this project our efforts will be oriented on the development of molecular markers tightly linked to yellow rust resistance genes that will allow speeding up the process of the development of resistant cultivars.

The overall goal of the project: “To study the genetic mechanisms of inheritance of resistance to wheat yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis West.) using molecular-genetic markers and on this base to develop new donors and breeding material resistant to the disease”.

This project will be performed by realising the following objectives:

  • The study of genetic structure and race composition in wheat yellow rust population.
  • The study of inheritance of yellow rust resistance and genetic analysis of resistance in hybrid segregating populations, including seedling and adult plant resistance.
  • Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) for directed selection of resistant forms of wheat.
  • Screening and development of advanced breeding materials of wheat from Kazakh and international breeding programs, combining high yield, quality and resistance to the rusts.

At the project the main test-objects, mapping populations, criteria and methodology of investigation have determined. Complex scientific-research activity will include the consequent performance of four Tasks, each of them include 3 Subtasks. As a material for research 1500 wheat entries, including differentials from Central and West Asia Yellow Rust Trap Nursery, near-isogenic and recombinant inbred lines, hybrids and commercial cultivars will be used. The project is differing from other same work because of combining of the conventional methods of breeding, plant pathology, genetics and molecular biology. For the first time in the region of Central Asia the new techniques Resistance Gene Analog Polymorphism and Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) will be applied and introduced for the direct selection of resistance to yellow rust. As a result of this complex study genetic mechanisms of wheat yellow rust resistance will be learned, predominant pathotypes of Puccinia striiformis West will be determined, the ways of infection extension will be of clarified. The outcomes will provide the assembly of a characterised pathogen collection and the evaluation of germplasm stocks of potential value to breeding programs. Resistance genes will be identified. Collection of donors – sources of resistance genes will be created. Using molecular markers resistance genes will be identified and mapped. For rapid selection of resistant lines will be applied MAS technique. As a result of this project the promising lines of wheat will be identified and developed to combine high levels of productivity and grain quality with rust resistance.

Results of this project will be used: a) for the development of a program for crop protection and improving conditions in the agricultural environment by reducing the use of pesticides and thereby reducing environmental pollution; b) for development of diagnostic methods for rapid and reliable identification of yellow rust resistance genes using molecular-genetic markers that will allow effective control of the diseases; c) for the development and implementation of breeding programs for wheat improvement at institutions of Central Asia. It is expected that the outcomes will have a positive effect not only for Kazakhstan, but for the entire region of Central Asia where epidemics of yellow rust are causing regular problems. Exchange of data in yellow rust monitoring and resistant germplasm will be helpful both at regional and international levels to co-operative disease monitoring and a progressive regional approach to developing and deploying resistant cultivars.

All parts of the Project meet ISTC goals and objectives. Implementation of the project will allow scientists, possessing the skill and practical knowledge in the area of weapons of mass destruction, to realize the possibility for re-orientation in their capabilities for peaceful activities. Results of the project will have a considerable influence on the transition of scientific-technical personnel of the RIBSP, v. Gvardeisky, from military to civilian goals. The objectives of this project are in agreement with the goals and objectives of the governmental program ensuring the scientific development of the agro-industrial complex of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Moreover, the goals and objectives will contribute to realising the international program that was accepted according to decisions of I, II и III Intenational were devoted to the poblems of wheat yellow rust resistance.

Role of Foreign Collaborator (Dr. Chen, USDA-ARS, WSU, Pullman, WA, USA) will connected to the exchange by scientific and technical information; providing the methodical recommendation; consideration and discussion of report materials with executors; determination of direction of further investigations; preparation of scientific publications; to help to organize and to carry out joint workshops and conferences.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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