, Volume 179, Issue 1, pp 161–173 | Cite as

Genomic selection for durable stem rust resistance in wheat

  • Jessica E. Rutkoski
  • Elliot L. Heffner
  • Mark E. Sorrells


Inheritance of stem rust (caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) resistance in wheat can be either qualitative or quantitative. While quantitative disease resistance is believed to be more durable, it is more difficult to evaluate if it is expressed only in mature plants, i.e. adult plant resistance (APR). Marker-assisted selection (MAS) methods for APR would be useful; however, the multigenic nature of APR impedes the use of MAS efforts that aim to pyramid only a few target genes. A promising alternative is genomic selection (GS), which utilizes genome-wide marker coverage to predict genotypic values for quantitative traits. In turn, GS can reduce the selection cycle length of a breeding program for traits like APR that could take several seasons to generate reliable phenotypes. In this paper, we describe the GS process for use in crop improvement, both specifically for APR and in general. We also propose a GS–based wheat breeding scheme for quantitative resistance to stem rust that, when compared to current breeding schemes, can reduce cycle time by up to twofold and facilitates pyramiding of major genes with APR genes. Thus, GS could be an important tool for achieving the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative’s (BGRI) goal of developing durable stem rust resistance in wheat.


Genomic selection Wheat Puccinia graminis Durable resistance Quantitative resistance Adult plant resistance 



Association breeding


Adult plant resistance


Gene-assisted genomic selection


Genomic estimated breeding value


Genomic selection


Hypersensitive response


Linkage disequilibrium


Marker assisted backcrossing


Marker assisted selection


Marker assisted recurrent selection


Ridge regression best linear unbiased prediction


Training population


True breeding value


Selection candidate



Support for the work of JR was provided by the USDA National Needs Graduate Fellowship Competitive Grant No. 2008-38420-04755 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Einaudi Center International Research Travel Grant, and the Jeanie Borlaug Women in Triticum Award. Support for the work of EH was provided by USDA National Needs Graduate Fellowship Competitive Grant No. 2005-38420-15785 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Additional funding for this research was provided by USDA—NIFA National Research Initiative CAP grants No. 2005-05130, 2006-55606-16629, and by Hatch 149-402.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica E. Rutkoski
    • 1
  • Elliot L. Heffner
    • 1
  • Mark E. Sorrells
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Breeding and GeneticsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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