, Volume 178, Issue 1, pp 45-62

Specific resistance to leaf rust expressed at the seedling stage in cultivars grown in France from 1983 to 2007

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Host resistance is the most economical means to reduce yield losses caused by wheat leaf rust. Knowledge of the effective specific resistance genes is a prerequisite for analysis of the non-specific components of resistance, assumed to be more durable than specific resistance. Lr genes were inferred from seedling response phenotype of 275 wheat cultivars and 21 standard isolates of Puccinia triticina. Enough cultivars were selected for analysis so that findings would account for at least two-thirds of the French agricultural land dedicated to wheat from 1983 to 2007. In this paper, genes Lr13, Lr37, Lr10, Lr14a, Lr3, Lr26, Lr1, Lr24, Lr20 are postulated, alone or in combinations, in, respectively, 67%, 45%, 34%, 20%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 1%, and 1% of the cultivars. Forty five phenotypic arrays were found, the most frequent being (Lr10, Lr13, Lr37) and (Lr13) in 45 and 37 cultivars, respectively. Over the period, the combinations became increasingly complex. Isolates with virulence corresponding to most of the Lr gene combinations were identified in the pathogen population, except for combinations involving Lr24 and some unidentified genes. These findings will help breeders and extension service staff (Arvalis) in diversifying sources of resistance to wheat leaf rust. This information is also crucial for research programs aiming, on the one hand, to identify sources of quantitative resistance, and, on the other hand, to quantify selection pressure exerted on pathogen populations.