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Phytopathology. 2011 Jul;101(7):870-7. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-10-10-0268.

Genetic differentiation of Puccinia triticina populations in the Middle East and genetic similarity with populations in Central Asia.

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service Cereal Disease Laboratory, 1551 Lindig, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA. jkolmer@umn.edu


Leaf rust of wheat, caused by Puccinia triticina, is a common and widespread disease in the Middle East. The objective of this study was to determine whether genetically differentiated groups of P. triticina are present in the Middle East region and to compare the population from the Middle East with the previously characterized population from Central Asia to determine whether genetically similar groups of isolates are found in the two regions. In total, 118 isolates of P. triticina collected from common wheat and durum wheat in Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Kenya were tested for virulence on 20 lines of wheat with single genes for leaf rust resistance and for molecular genotypes with 23 simple-sequence repeat (SSR) markers. After removal of isolates with identical virulence and SSR genotype in each country, 103 isolates were retained for further analysis. Clustering of SSR genotypes based on two-dimensional principal coordinates and virulence to wheat differential lines grouped the isolates into four Middle East (ME) groups. The two largest ME groups had virulence phenotypes typical of isolates collected from common wheat and two smaller ME groups had virulence typical of isolates collected from durum wheat. All pairs of ME groups were significantly differentiated for SSR genotype based on R(ST) and F(ST) statistics, and for virulence phenotype based on Φ(PT). All ME groups had observed values of heterozygosity greater than expected and significant fixation indices that indicated the clonal reproduction of urediniospores in the overall population. Linkage disequilibria for SSR genotypes was high across the entire population. The overall values of R(ST) and F(ST) were lower when isolates were grouped by country of origin that indicated the likely migration of isolates within the region. Although the two ME groups with virulence typical of isolates from common wheat were not differentiated for SSR genotype from groups of isolates from Central Asia based on R(ST), there was no direct evidence for migration between the two regions because all ME isolates differed from the Central Asia isolates for SSR genotypes.

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