Molecular genetics and evolution of disease resistance in cereals

Simon G. Krattinger, Beat Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Contents 320 I. 320 II. 321 III. 321 IV. 322 V. 324 VI. 328 VII. 329 330 References 330 SUMMARY: Cereal crops produce a large part of the globally consumed food and feed. Because of the constant presence of devastating pathogens, the molecular characterization of disease resistance is a major research area and highly relevant for breeding. There has been recent and accelerating progress in the understanding of three distinct resistance mechanisms in cereals: resistance conferred by plasma membrane-localized receptor proteins; race-specific resistance conferred by intracellular immune receptors; and quantitative disease resistance. Intracellular immune receptors provide a particularly rich source for evolutionary studies, and have, for example, resulted in the recent discovery of a novel detection mechanism based on integrated decoy domains. Evolutionary studies have also revealed the origins of active resistance genes in both wild progenitors of today's cereals as well as in cultivated forms. In addition, independent evolution of orthologous genes in related cereals has resulted in resistance to different pathogen species. Quantitative resistance genes have been best characterized in wheat. The quantitative resistance genes identified so far in wheat encode transporter proteins or unusual kinase proteins. The recent discoveries in these three different resistance mechanisms have contributed to the basic molecular understanding of cereal immunity against pathogens and have suggested novel applications for resistance breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-332
Number of pages13
JournalThe New phytologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.


  • cereals
  • disease resistance
  • leucine-rich repeat receptor (NLR), nucleotide-binding
  • pathogen
  • quantitative disease resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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