Discovery and characterization of two new stem rust resistance genes in Aegilops sharonensis.
We identified two novel wheat stem rust resistance genes, Sr-1644-1Sh and Sr-1644-5Sh in Aegilops sharonensis that are effective against widely virulent African races of the wheat stem rust pathogen. Stem rust is one of the most important diseases of wheat in the world. When single stem rust resistance (Sr) genes are deployed in wheat, they are often rapidly overcome by the pathogen. To this end, we initiated a search for novel sources of resistance in diverse wheat relatives and identified the wild goatgrass species Aegilops sharonesis (Sharon goatgrass) as a rich reservoir of resistance to wheat stem rust. The objectives of this study were to discover and map novel Sr genes in Ae. sharonensis and to explore the possibility of identifying new Sr genes by genome-wide association study (GWAS). We developed two biparental populations between resistant and susceptible accessions of Ae. sharonensis and performed QTL and linkage analysis. In an F6 recombinant inbred line and an F2 population, two genes were identified that mapped to the short arm of chromosome 1S(sh), designated as Sr-1644-1Sh, and the long arm of chromosome 5S(sh), designated as Sr-1644-5Sh. The gene Sr-1644-1Sh confers a high level of resistance to race TTKSK (a member of the Ug99 race group), while the gene Sr-1644-5Sh conditions strong resistance to TRTTF, another widely virulent race found in Yemen. Additionally, GWAS was conducted on 125 diverse Ae. sharonensis accessions for stem rust resistance. The gene Sr-1644-1Sh was detected by GWAS, while Sr-1644-5Sh was not detected, indicating that the effectiveness of GWAS might be affected by marker density, population structure, low allele frequency and other factors.