Identification of QTL conferring resistance to stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei) and leaf rust (Puccinia hordei) in barley using nested association mapping (NAM)
The biotrophic rust fungi Puccinia hordei and Puccinia striiformis are important barley pathogens with the potential to cause high yield losses through an epidemic spread. The identification of QTL conferring resistance to these pathogens is the basis for targeted breeding approaches aiming to improve stripe rust and leaf rust resistance of modern cultivars. Exploiting the allelic richness of wild barley accessions proved to be a valuable tool to broaden the genetic base of resistance of barley cultivars. In this study, SNP-based nested association mapping (NAM) was performed to map stripe rust and leaf rust resistance QTL in the barley NAM population HEB-25, comprising 1,420 lines derived from BC1S3 generation. By scoring the percentage of infected leaf area, followed by calculation of the area under the disease progress curve and the average ordinate during a two-year field trial, a large variability of resistance across and within HEB-25 families was observed. NAM based on 5,715 informative SNPs resulted in the identification of twelve and eleven robust QTL for resistance against stripe rust and leaf rust, respectively. Out of these, eight QTL for stripe rust and two QTL for leaf rust are considered novel showing no overlap with previously reported resistance QTL. Overall, resistance to both pathogens in HEB-25 is most likely due to the accumulation of numerous small effect loci. In addition, the NAM results indicate that the 25 wild donor QTL alleles present in HEB-25 strongly differ in regard to their individual effect on rust resistance. In future, the NAM concept will allow to select and combine individual wild barley alleles from different HEB parents to increase rust resistance in barley. The HEB-25 results will support to unravel the genetic basis of rust resistance in barley, and to improve resistance against stripe rust and leaf rust of modern barley cultivars.