Integrated management of stripe rust in wheat for Alberta

Posted on 06.02.2017 | Last Modified 10.06.2019
Lead Researcher (PI): Dean Spaner
Institution: University of Alberta
Total WGRF Funding: $252,000
Co-Funders: Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
Start Date: 2016
Project Length: 3 Years

To monitor the incidence and severity of stripe rust in Alberta through annual surveys. To identify and characterize new sources of resistance to stripe rust and introgress into wheat.

Project Summary:

The net revenue from Canadian wheat sales returned directly to producers was about $4.8 billion in 2010. Stripe rust of wheat can cause yield losses  up to 50% and loss of quality. In western Canada, Alberta is a hotspot for stripe rust because of the close proximity of southern Alberta to the Pacific Northwestern United States where the pathogen overwinters and annual infections originate. The stripe rust pathogen is highly aggressive and variable on wheat and triticale, quickly evolving new races that overcome existing resistance. Potential yield losses could therefore approach over a billion dollars annually.

Over the duration of this project we conducted surveys and found that numerous wheat lines traditionally resistant to stripe rust were seriously affected, which clearly demonstrated the race composition included new and very aggressive races. We found a constant infection level in farmers’ fields throughout the southern part of the province. We found some genes which were immune to stripe rust and would therefore provide wheat breeders options for developing stripe rust resistant cultivar. We were further able to map some resistance genes which will allow breeders to more accurately cross them into new cultivars. In addition we have developed numerous breeding lines at different stages of development, which will likely become stripe rust resistant cultivar. And we did register and release a cultivar of CWRS wheat which pooled multiple resistant genes into a new cultivar. This cultivar will be marketed in the future under the name of Sheba.