Genomic selection for durable stem rust resistance in wheat

Jessica E. Rutkoski, Elliot L. Heffner, Mark E. Sorrells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inheritance of stem rust (caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici) resistance in wheat can be either qualitative or quantitative. While quantitative disease resistance is believed to be more durable, it is more difficult to evaluate if it is expressed only in mature plants, i. e. adult plant resistance (APR). Marker-assisted selection (MAS) methods for APR would be useful; however, the multigenic nature of APR impedes the use of MAS efforts that aim to pyramid only a few target genes. A promising alternative is genomic selection (GS), which utilizes genome-wide marker coverage to predict genotypic values for quantitative traits. In turn, GS can reduce the selection cycle length of a breeding program for traits like APR that could take several seasons to generate reliable phenotypes. In this paper, we describe the GS process for use in crop improvement, both specifically for APR and in general. We also propose a GS-based wheat breeding scheme for quantitative resistance to stem rust that, when compared to current breeding schemes, can reduce cycle time by up to twofold and facilitates pyramiding of major genes with APR genes. Thus, GS could be an important tool for achieving the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative's (BGRI) goal of developing durable stem rust resistance in wheat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-173
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult plant resistance
  • Durable resistance
  • Genomic selection
  • Puccinia graminis
  • Quantitative resistance
  • Wheat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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