Chapter 8. Wheat Rusts: Current Status, Prospects of Genetic Control and Integrated Approaches to Enhance Resistance Durability
The three rusts are the most damaging diseases of wheat worldwide and continue to pose a threat to global food security. In the recent decades, stem rust races belonging to the Ug99 (TTKSK) and Digalu (TKTTF) race group resurfaced as a major threat in Africa, the Middle East and Europe threatening global wheat production. In addition, the evolution and migration of new aggressive races of yellow rust adapted to warmer temperatures into Europe and Asia from Himalayan region are becoming a significant risk in several wheat production environments. Unique and complex virulence patterns, continuous evolution to overcome effective resistance genes in varieties, shifts in population dynamics, transboundary migration have resulted in localized/regional epidemics leading to food insecurity threats. This underscores the need to identify, characterize, and deploy effective rust resistant genes from diverse sources into pre-breeding lines and future wheat varieties. The use of genetic resistance and deployment of multiple race specific and pleiotropic adult plant resistance genes in wheat lines can enhance resistance durability. Recent advances in sequencing annotated wheat reference genome with a detailed analysis of gene content among sub-genomes will not only accelerate our understanding of the genetic basis of rust resistance bread wheat, at the same time wheat breeders can now use this information to identify genes conferring rust resistance. Progress in genetic mapping techniques, new cloning techniques and wheat transformation methods over the last two decades have not only resulted in characterizing new genes and loci but also facilitated rapid cloning and stacking multiple genes as gene cassettes which can be future solution for enhancing durable resistance.