Breeding wheat with durable resistance to the fungal pathogen Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt), a major threat to cereal production, is challenging due to the rapid evolution of pathogen virulence. Increased durability and broad-spectrum resistance can be achieved by introducing more than one resistance gene, but combining numerous unlinked genes by breeding is laborious. Here we generate polygenic Pgt resistance by introducing a transgene cassette of five resistance genes into bread wheat as a single locus and show that at least four of the five genes are functional. These wheat lines are resistant to aggressive and highly virulent Pgt isolates from around the world and show very high levels of resistance in the field. The simple monogenic inheritance of this multigene locus greatly simplifies its use in breeding. However, a new Pgt isolate with virulence to several genes at this locus suggests gene stacks will need strategic deployment to maintain their effectiveness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the 2Blades Foundation for financial support, Y.G. Liu for the 380H vector and C. Chen for assistance with figures.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.