A major yellow rust resistance QTL on chromosome 6A shows increased frequency in recent Norwegian spring wheat cultivars and breeding lines
Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, causing wheat yellow rust (YR), is one of the most devastating biotrophic pathogens affecting global wheat yields. Owing to the recent epidemic of the PstS10 race group in Europe, yellow rust has become a reoccurring disease in Norway since 2014. As all stage resistances (ASR) (or seedling resistances) are usually easily overcome by pathogen evolution, deployment of durable adult plant resistance (APR) is crucial for yellow rust resistance breeding. In this study, we assessed a Nordic spring wheat association mapping panel (n = 301) for yellow rust field resistance in seventeen field trials from 2015 to 2021, including nine locations in six countries across four different continents. Nine consistent QTL were identified across continents by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). One robust QTL on the long arm of chromosome 6A, QYr.nmbu.6A, was consistently detected in nine out of the seventeen trials. Haplotype analysis of QYr.nmbu.6A confirmed significant QTL effects in all tested environments and the effect was also validated using an independent panel of new Norwegian breeding lines. Increased frequency of the resistant haplotype was found in new varieties and breeding lines in comparison to older varieties and landraces, implying that the resistance might have been selected for due to the recent changes in the yellow rust pathogen population in Europe.