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Detection of virulent races from international populations of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici
Pablo Olivera Firpo: University of Minnesota; Les Szabo: USDA ARS; Doug Luster: USDA ARS FDWSRU; Yue Jin: USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory
<div>Wheat stem rust, caused by <i>Puccinia</i> <i>graminis</i> f. sp. <i>tritici</i> (<i>Pgt</i>) is a re-emerging disease, posing a new threat to wheat production worldwide exemplified by epidemics caused by races in the Ug99 race group in Eastern Africa. In response to this new threat, a global pathogen surveillance system was established under the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) to detect and monitor Ug99 and other races virulent to commercially important resistance genes. The USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory, in collaboration with multiple international partners, has played a critical role in the discovery and characterization of stem rust races with significant virulence combinations. During the past five years, we analyzed over 1,000 <i>Pgt </i>samples from countries in East Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. Phenotypic and genotypic analyses enabled us to identify new variants with virulence to previously effective resistance genes and monitor the spread of the Ug99 race group. We characterized the non-Ug99 races responsible for local epidemics in Ethiopia and Germany, and identified hotspots of phenotypic and genotypic diversity from <i>Pgt </i>populations in Georgia and Kazakhstan. Relevant races are selected for screening of US and international germplasm to identify resistant wheat breeding lines.</div>

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