The fungal pathogen Bipolaris sorokiniana (teleomorph Cochliobolus sativus)causes the foliar disease spot blotch (SB) and the root disease common root rot (CRR). Spot blotch and CRR are serious disease constraints to barley production in warmer growing regions of the world, with estimated yield losses ranging from 30-70% from SB and 15-30% for CRR. Although chemical treatments may assist in
controlling spot blotch infections, the most effective and environmentally sound means of control for each disease is breeding for varieties with natural resistance. In
Australia, no commercially available varieties offer resistance to either SB or CRR. This study has sought to establish molecular markers that will be useful for selecting for resistance to each of these important fungal diseases.
Barley cultivars derived from the breeding line NDB112 have provided durable SB resistance in the North Dakota region of the USA for over 40 years. The robustness
of this resistance had not been determined under Australian environmental conditions or with those B. sorokiniana pathotypes present within Australia. To
elucidate the genetics of resistance, two seedling and two field trials were conducted on an ND11231-12/VB9524 (ND/VB) doubled haploid (DH) population (180 lines).
A molecular map of the ND/VB population was curated in order to provide a firm basis for mapping of resistance loci. Composite interval mapping revealed that
different gene combinations are effective at different stages of plant development. Seedling resistance was found to be conditioned by a major locus on the short arm of
chromosome 7H and this region was validated in the related population ND11231-11/WI2875*17. A minor quantitative locus on chromosome 5HS was detected in one of the two seedling trials. However, this region requires further investigation to confirm its association to SB resistance in this population. Field resistance to SB in adult plants was found to be associated with two major quantitative trait loci (QTL)on chromosomes 7HS and 3HS; and a putative third minor QTL on chromosome 2HS. The 7H region is common between seedling and field resistance and is the most important locus for the expression of resistance at both stages of plant development. These findings largely concur with genetic studies of this trait in tworowed barley germplasm in North American environments.
Common root rot is a difficult disease to phenotype for, and breeding programs will benefit from the identification of molecular markers linked to resistance. Data was
provided from field trials of subsets of the population over four years. Using a novel approach combining the efficiency of bulked-segregant analysis with highthroughput
Diversity Arrays Technology markers (BSA-DArT), CRR resistance was found to be conditioned by three putative QTL in an unmapped Delta/Lindwall population. QTL were identified on chromosomes 2HS, 4HS, and 7HS. To validate
the trait-linkage associations between the DArT markers and the CRR QTL,microsatellite (SSR) markers known to map to the regions identified by BSA-DArT were used. The 2H and 4H regions were validated using marker regression of the SSR markers in most seedling trials, whereas the 7H QTL, which is proximal to the location of the SB resistance QTL in the ND/VB population, was detected in only one seedling trial.
The QTL identified in this study offer potential to combat the foliar and root diseases causes by this fungal pathogen. The chromosomal location of QTL for SB and CRR resistance have been found to differ in the ND/VB and D/L populations,which suggests that resistance to each disease is independently inherited. Further research is required to confirm the hypothesis that it is possible to combine
resistance to both diseases into a single genotype. Such allelic combinations would provide elite germplasm that would benefit barley breeding programs world-wide.