Genome Wide Association Study of Seedling and Adult Plant Leaf Rust Resistance in Elite Spring Wheat Breeding Lines

Liangliang Gao, M. Kathryn Turner, Shiaoman Chao, James Kolmer, James A. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Leaf rust is an important disease, threatening wheat production annually. Identification of resistance genes or QTLs for effective field resistance could greatly enhance our ability to breed durably resistant varieties. We applied a genome wide association study (GWAS) approach to identify resistance genes or QTLs in 338 spring wheat breeding lines from public and private sectors that were predominately developed in the Americas. A total of 46 QTLs were identified for field and seedling traits and approximately 20-30 confer field resistance in varying degrees. The 10 QTLs accounting for the most variation in field resistance explained 26-30% of the total variation (depending on traits: percent severity, coefficient of infection or response type). Similarly, the 10 QTLs accounting for most of the variation in seedling resistance to different races explained 24-34% of the variation, after correcting for population structure. Two potentially novel QTLs (QLr.umn-1AL, QLr.umn-4AS) were identified. Identification of novel genes or QTLs and validation of previously identified genes or QTLs for seedling and especially adult plant resistance will enhance understanding of leaf rust resistance and assist breeding for resistant wheat varieties. We also developed computer programs to automate field and seedling rust phenotype data conversions. This is the first GWAS study of leaf rust resistance in elite wheat breeding lines genotyped with high density 90K SNP arrays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0148671
Pages (from-to)e0148671
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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