Race-specific resistance to crown rust, the most important disease of oat (Avena sativa) in Brazil, often fails within a few years of use in Brazilian cultivars. Virulence of 144 isolates of Puccinia coronata from cultivated oat in Brazil in 1997 to 1999 and 36 isolates from Uruguay in 1994-95 and 1998 was tested on a set of 27 oat crown rust differentials lines, each with a different Pc gene for race-specific resistance. Frequencies of virulence and mean virulence complexity were compared among these five collections from Brazil and Uruguay as well as with mean virulence complexity for a collection of 17 isolates from cultivated oat in western Siberia in Russia. Virulence-avirulence for each of the 27 Pc genes was polymorphic in both Brazil and Uruguay. Virulence frequencies were similar for collections from Brazil in 1998 and 1999 and for the collection from Uruguay from 1998, but there were large differences between the 1997 collection and the 1998 and 1999 collections from Brazil. Mean virulence complexity in both Brazil and Uruguay was greater than reported in the United States and much greater than in the Russian collection of P. coronata. A large number of races of P. coronata were found, with no more than five isolates of any race found in a single year in Brazil or Uruguay. The high virulence complexity and great diversity of virulence polymorphisms in Brazil and Uruguay make it unlikely that race-specific resistance can be effective there even though the South American populations of P. coronata are apparently entirely asexual.
- Balancing selection