Characterization of molecular diversity and genome-wide mapping of loci associated with resistance to stripe rust and stem rust in Ethiopian bread wheat accessions

Kebede T. Muleta, Matthew N. Rouse, Sheri Rynearson, Xianming Chen, Bedada G. Buta, Michael O. Pumphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: The narrow genetic basis of resistance in modern wheat cultivars and the strong selection response of pathogen populations have been responsible for periodic and devastating epidemics of the wheat rust diseases. Characterizing new sources of resistance and incorporating multiple genes into elite cultivars is the most widely accepted current mechanism to achieve durable varietal performance against changes in pathogen virulence. Here, we report a high-density molecular characterization and genome-wide association study (GWAS) of stripe rust and stem rust resistance in 190 Ethiopian bread wheat lines based on phenotypic data from multi-environment field trials and seedling resistance screening experiments. A total of 24,281 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers filtered from the wheat 90 K iSelect genotyping assay was used to survey Ethiopian germplasm for population structure, genetic diversity and marker-trait associations. Results: Upon screening for field resistance to stripe rust in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Ethiopia over multiple growing seasons, and against multiple races of stripe rust and stem rust at seedling stage, eight accessions displayed resistance to all tested races of stem rust and field resistance to stripe rust in all environments. Our GWAS results show 15 loci were significantly associated with seedling and adult plant resistance to stripe rust at false discovery rate (FDR)-adjusted probability (P) <0.10. GWAS also detected 9 additional genomic regions significantly associated (FDR-adjusted P < 0.10) with seedling resistance to stem rust in the Ethiopian wheat accessions. Many of the identified resistance loci were mapped close to previously identified rust resistance genes; however, three loci on the short arms of chromosomes 5A and 7B for stripe rust resistance and two on chromosomes 3B and 7B for stem rust resistance may be novel. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that considerable genetic variation resides within the landrace accessions that can be utilized to broaden the genetic base of rust resistance in wheat breeding germplasm. The molecular markers identified in this study should be useful in efficiently targeting the associated resistance loci in marker-assisted breeding for rust resistance in Ethiopia and other countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalBMC plant biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 4 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was partly funded by Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program, by the National Research Initiative Competitive Grant 2011–68,002-30,029 (Triticeae-CAP) from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and by the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat Project with funds through Cornell University originating from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • Association mapping
  • Bread wheat
  • Genetic diversity
  • Genetic resistance
  • Stem rust
  • Stripe rust


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