We utilized 2300 wheat accessions including worldwide landraces, cultivars and primary synthetic-derived germplasm with three Australian cultivars: Annuello, Yitpi and Correll, to investigate field-based resistance to leaf (Lr) rust, stem (Sr) rust and stripe (Yr) rust diseases across a range of Australian wheat agri-production zones.

Generally, the resistance in the modern Australian cultivars, synthetic derivatives, South and North American materials outperformed other geographical subpopulations. Different environments for each trait showed significant correlations, with average r values of 0.53, 0.23 and 0.66 for Lr, Sr and Yr, respectively. Single-trait genome-wide association studies (GWAS) revealed several environment-specific and multi-environment quantitative trait loci (QTL). Multi-trait GWAS confirmed a cluster of Yr QTL on chromosome 3B within a 4.4-cM region. Linkage disequilibrium and comparative mapping showed that at least three Yr QTL exist within the 3B cluster including the durable rust resistance gene Yr30. An Sr/Lr QTL on chromosome 3D was found mainly in the synthetic-derived germplasm from Annuello background which is known to carry the Agropyron elongatum 3D translocation involving the Sr24/Lr24 resistance locus. Interestingly, estimating the SNP effects using a BayesR method showed that the correlation among the highest 1% of QTL effects across environments (excluding GWAS QTL) had significant correlations, with average r values of 0.26, 0.16 and 0.55 for Lr, Sr and Yr, respectively. These results indicate the importance of small effect QTL in achieving durable rust resistance which can be captured using genomic selection.


See https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00122-020-03626-9