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Identification of quantitative trait loci conferring resistance to tan spot in a biparental population derived from two Nebraska hard red winter wheat cultivars

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Tan spot, caused by Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr), is a destructive foliar disease in all types of cultivated wheat worldwide. Genetics of tan spot resistance in wheat is complex, involving insensitivity to fungal-produced necrotrophic effectors (NEs), major resistance genes, and quantitative trait loci (QTL) conferring race-nonspecific and race-specific resistance. The Nebraska hard red winter wheat (HRWW) cultivar ‘Wesley’ is insensitive to Ptr ToxA and highly resistant to multiple Ptr races, but the genetics of resistance in this cultivar is unknown. In this study, we used a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between Wesley and another Nebraska cultivar ‘Harry’ (Ptr ToxA sensitive and highly susceptible) to identify QTL associated with reaction to tan spot caused by multiple races/isolates. Sensitivity to Ptr ToxA conferred by the Tsn1 gene was mapped to chromosome 5B as expected. The Tsn1 locus was a major susceptibility QTL for the race 1 and race 2 isolates, but not for the race 2 isolate with the ToxA gene deleted. A second major susceptibility QTL was identified for all the Ptr ToxC-producing isolates and located to the distal end of the chromosome 1A, which likely corresponds to the Tsc1 locus. Three additional QTL with minor effects were identified on chromosomes 7A, 7B, and 7D. This work indicates that both Ptr ToxA-Tsn1 and Ptr ToxC-Tsc1 interactions are important for tan spot development in winter wheat, and Wesley is highly resistant largely due to the absence of the two tan spot sensitivity genes.

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Log of odds ratio


Quantitative trait locus


Marker-assisted selection


Necrotrophic effector


Recombinant inbred line

Ptr :

Pyrenophora tritici-repentis

S :

Sensitivity gene


Single-nucleotide polymorphism

Tsn :

Tan spot necrosis

Tsc :

Tan spot chlorosis


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This material is based upon work supported, in part, by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Hatch project number ND02224. The development and genotyping of the Harry/Wesley population was partially supported by the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station with funding from the Hatch Act (Accession Number 0232571) through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and other USDA-NIFA grants.

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Correspondence to Zhaohui Liu.

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Kariyawasam, G.K., Hussain, W., Easterly, A. et al. Identification of quantitative trait loci conferring resistance to tan spot in a biparental population derived from two Nebraska hard red winter wheat cultivars. Mol Breeding 38, 140 (2018).

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