Identification and cross-validation of genetic loci conferring resistance to Septoria nodorum blotch using a German multi-founder winter wheat population
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Septoria nodorum blotch (SNB) is a disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum and T. durum) caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum. SNB resistance is a typical quantitative trait, controlled by multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) of minor effect. To achieve increased plant resistance, selection for resistance alleles and/or selection against susceptibility alleles must be undertaken. Here, we performed genetic analysis of SNB resistance using an eight-founder German Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) population, termed BMWpop. Field trials and greenhouse testing were conducted over three seasons in Norway, with genetic analysis identifying ten SNB resistance QTL. Of these, two QTL were identified over two seasons: QSnb.nmbu-2A.1 on chromosome 2A and QSnb.nmbu-5A.1 on chromosome 5A. The chromosome 2A BMWpop QTL co-located with a robust SNB resistance QTL recently identified in an independent eight-founder MAGIC population constructed using varieties released in the United Kingdom (UK). The validation of this SNB resistance QTL in two independent multi-founder mapping populations, regardless of the differences in genetic background and agricultural environment, highlights the value of this locus in SNB resistance breeding. The second robust QTL identified in the BMWpop, QSnb.nmbu-5A.1, was not identified in the UK MAGIC population. Combining resistance alleles at both loci resulted in additive effects on SNB resistance. Therefore, using marker assisted selection to combine resistance alleles is a promising strategy for improving SNB resistance in wheat breeding. Indeed, the multi-locus haplotypes determined in this study provide markers for efficient tracking of these beneficial alleles in future wheat genetics and breeding activities.
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