Australasian Plant Pathology (2006) 35, 657-670

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B.C. Sendall, G.A. Kong, K.C. Goulter, E.A.B. Aitken, S.M. Thompson, J.H.M. Mitchell, J.K. Kochman, W. Lawson, T. Shatte and T.J. Gulya (2006)
Diversity in the sunflower:Puccinia helianthi pathosystem in Australia
Australasian Plant Pathology 35 (6), 657-670
Abstract: Sunflower rust caused by Puccinia helianthi is the most important disease of sunflower in Australia with the potential to cause significant yield losses in susceptible hybrids. Rapid and frequent virulence changes in the rust fungus population limit the effective lifespan of commercial cultivars and impose constant pressure on breeding programs to identify and deploy new sources of resistance. This paper contains a synopsis of virulence data accumulated over 25 years, and more recent studies of genotypic diversity and sexual recombination. We have used this synopsis, generated from both published and unpublished data, to propose the origin, evolution and distribution of new pathotypes of P. helianthi. Virulence surveys revealed that diverse pathotypes of P. helianthi evolve in wild sunflower populations, most likely because sexual recombination and subsequent selection of recombinant pathotypes occurs there. Wild sunflower populations provide a continuum of genetically heterogeneous hosts on which P. helianthi can potentially complete its sexual cycle under suitable environmental conditions. Population genetics analysis of a worldwide collection of P. helianthi indicated that Australian isolates of the pathogen are more diverse than non-Australian isolates. Additionally, the presence of the same pathotype in different genotypic backgrounds supported evidence from virulence data that sexual recombination has occurred in the Australian population of P. helianthi at some time. A primary aim of the work described was to apply our knowledge of pathotype evolution to improve resistance in sunflower to sunflower rust. Molecular markers were identified for a number of previously uncharacterised sunflower rust R-genes. These markers have been used to detect resistance genes in breeding lines and wild sunflower germplasm. A number of virulence loci that do not recombine were identified in P. helianthi. The resistance gene combinations corresponding to these virulence loci are currently being introgressed with breeding lines to generate hybrids with durable resistance to sunflower rust.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): G.A. Kong, Thomas J. Gulya

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Puccinia helianthi Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)