Roland F. Line
Roland F. (Rollie) Line was born in Winona, MN, in 1934 and graduated from high school at Cromwell, MN, in 1952. He received his B.S. degree in 1956 and M.S. (1959) and Ph.D. (1962) degrees in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota. As a research associate at the University of Minnesota (1959 to 1963), he was responsible for research on the ecological potential and survival of the stem rust pathogen. His data showed that it was possible to create isolates of Puccinia graminis that were more aggressive at low temperatures and that selection for aggressiveness at low temperatures reduced aggressiveness at high temperatures. With coworkers, he showed that new races could arise by sexual and somatic crosses between Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici and Puccinia graminis f. sp. secalis.
During 1963 to 1968, Dr. Line led a cooperative U.S. Army, USDA, and experiment station project on stem rust epidemiology and loss assessment from Oklahoma to North Dakota. It was the most innovative, extensive, and comprehensive study of its type in the history of cereal rust research, and it set the stage for subsequent research on the subject. In 1968, Dr. Line assumed the leadership of a USDA program for the control of rusts and smuts at Pullman, WA. Stripe rust and flag smut were the most urgent problems facing the wheat industry in 1968, but within 3 years, he had implemented a control program that reduced flag smut to a minor disease, saved the wheat industry millions of dollars, and prevented the loss of an export market.
Dr. Line established a rust research program that had an even greater impact on the wheat industry. He developed a monitoring program that provided early warning to breeders and growers to enable them to take action to prevent major losses. He identified the environmental and managerial factors that contribute to rust epidemics and, with Stella M. Coakley, developed the first working model for predicting stripe rust. Since 1979, he has used predictive models and monitoring data to forecast wheat stripe, leaf, and stem rust, and this program has proven equally effective in predicting barley stripe rust. Dr. Line and his students and postdoctoral trainees have used data on rust virulence and DNA polymorphism to develop concepts on the evolution of the stripe rust pathogens, the relationships among pathogenic forms and races, the origin and distribution of races, and the genetics of virulence and resistance.
In cooperation with Pacific Northwest wheat breeders, Dr. Line identified several unique types of resistance to stripe rust, including the most useful type, high-temperature, adult-plant (HTAP) resistance. Because of his research, over 45 wheat cultivars with HTAP resistance have been released and over 90% of the wheat acreage is planted with durable, HTAP-resistant cultivars. Use of HTAP resistance and multiline cultivars has prevented multimillion dollar losses to the wheat industry. Dr. Line has contributed to the release of two multiline, durable cultivars that are among the few multiline cultivars in the world that are extensively grown. Dr. Line and coworkers have identified 41 race-specific genes for stripe rust resistance, of which 29 were not previously known. They determined the location of 31 of the genes on 17 of the 21 wheat chromosomes, identified eight HTAP resistance genes, and identified molecular markers for use in breeding for resistance. Similar accomplishments have been obtained with barley stripe rust resistance genes. Most recently, he and his coworkers developed a new, widely acclaimed technique for efficiently identifying molecular markers that are directly associated with resistance genes.
Dr. Line was the first U.S. scientist to show that application of systemic, foliar fungicides was a feasible approach for the control of wheat rusts. Use of fungicides in 1981 prevented losses of more than $3 million in Washington state alone. Subsequently, Drs. Line and Ramon Cu developed a computerized, expert system called MoreCrop (Managerial Options for Reasonable Economical Control of Rusts and Other Pathogens), available on the internet at http:// pnw-ag.wsu.edu/morecrop/ for predicting and managing wheat diseases. It is widely used by growers, teachers, scientists, and advisors.
Dr. Line is recognized for his wealth of knowledge and experience in plant pathology and genetics and his international reputation for excellence. He is an authority on cereal rusts and smuts, expert systems, disease forecasting, crop loss assessment, chemical control, resistance, and disease management. He has published more than 70 refereed papers and book chapters and more than 260 technical publications. Dr. Line has served as the major advisor for 14 graduate students and has guided at least seven postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists.
Dr. Line has served on numerous national committees including the National Wheat Improvement, the Wheat Crop Advisory, and the Wheat Crop Germplasm. He has also served on numerous APS committees including Collections and Germ Plasm, Disease Control, Epidemiology, Genetics, Integrated Pest Management, and Office of International Programs. Most recently, he was a member of the USDA TCK team that provided the biological justification for removing the Chinese import barrier to Pacific Northwest wheat. In recognition of his contribution to wheat research and the wheat industry, he was a recipient of the O. A. Vogel/Crop Improvement Award and USDA Certificates of Merit. His dedication to his profession is unquestioned and, with the exception of the 1963 meeting, he has attended every national APS meeting since 1956.