Genome-wide association mapping of rust resistance in Aegilops longissima

Rae Page, Shuyi Huang, Moshe Ronen, Hanan Sela, Amir Sharon, Sandesh Shrestha, Jesse Poland, Brian J. Steffenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rust diseases, including leaf rust caused by Puccinia triticina (Pt), stem rust caused by P. graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt), and stripe rust caused by P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), are major limiting factors in wheat production worldwide. Identification of novel sources of rust resistance genes is key to developing cultivars resistant to rapidly evolving pathogen populations. Aegilops longissima is a diploid wild grass native to the Levant and closely related to the modern bread wheat D subgenome. To explore resistance genes in the species, we evaluated a large panel of Ae. longissima for resistance to several races of Pt, Pgt, and Pst, and conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to map rust resistance loci in the species. A panel of 404 Ae. longissima accessions, mostly collected from Israel, were screened for seedling-stage resistance to four races of Pt, four races of Pgt, and three races of Pst. Out of the 404 accessions screened, two were found that were resistant to all 11 races of the three rust pathogens screened. The percentage of all accessions screened that were resistant to a given rust pathogen race ranged from 18.5% to 99.7%. Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) was performed on 381 accessions of the Ae. longissima panel, wherein 125,343 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained after alignment to the Ae. longissima reference genome assembly and quality control filtering. Genetic diversity analysis revealed the presence of two distinct subpopulations, which followed a geographic pattern of a northern and a southern subpopulation. Association mapping was performed in the genotyped portion of the collection (n = 381) and in each subpopulation (n = 204 and 174) independently via a single-locus mixed-linear model, and two multi-locus models, FarmCPU, and BLINK. A large number (195) of markers were significantly associated with resistance to at least one of 10 rust pathogen races evaluated, nine of which are key candidate markers for further investigation due to their detection via multiple models and/or their association with resistance to more than one pathogen race. The novel resistance loci identified will provide additional diversity available for use in wheat breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1196486
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch project (#MIN-22-085 “Exploiting Wild Relatives for Cultivated Wheat and Barley Improvement”), the Lieberman-Okinow Endowment at the University of Minnesota to BS, Tel Aviv University to AS, and the Louise Dosdall Fellowship to RP. Acknowledgments

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Page, Huang, Ronen, Sela, Sharon, Shrestha, Poland and Steffenson.


  • Aegilops longissima
  • genetic diversity
  • genome-wide association mapping
  • germplasm collections
  • plant disease resistance
  • wheat rust
  • wild wheat relatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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