Accomplishments in wheat rust research in South Africa

Zacharias A. Pretorius van der Walt, Renée Prins, Elsabet Wessels, Cornel M. Bender, Botma Visser, Willem H.P. Boshoff
2020 South African Journal of Science  
Rust diseases, although seasonal, have been severe constraints in wheat production in South Africa for almost 300 years. Rust research gained momentum with the institution of annual surveys in the 1980s, followed by race identification, an understanding of rust epidemiology, and eventually a focused collaboration amongst pathologists, breeders and geneticists. Diversity in South African populations of Puccinia triticina, P. graminis f. sp. tritici and P. striiformis f. sp. tritici has been
more » ... itici has been described and isolates are available to accurately phenotype wheat germplasm and study pathogen populations at national, regional and global levels. Sources of resistance have been, and still are, methodically analysed and molecular marker systems were developed to incorporate, stack and verify complex resistance gene combinations in breeding lines and cultivars. Vigilance, capacity, new technologies, collaboration and sustained funding are critical for maintaining and improving the current research impetus for future management of these important diseases.
doi:10.17159/sajs.2020/7688 fatcat:whqzo7mdxvd2nf3tmc7szr7glm