Precision phenotyping reveals novel loci for quantitative resistance to septoria tritici blotch

Steven Yates, Alexey Mikaberidze, Simon G. Krattinger, Michael Abrouk, Andreas Hund, Kang Yu, Bruno Studer, Simone Fouche, Lukas Meile, Danilo Pereira, Petteri Karisto, Bruce A. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Accurate, high-throughput phenotyping for quantitative traits is a limiting factor for progress in plant breeding. We developed an automated image analysis to measure quantitative resistance to septoria tritici blotch (STB), a globally important wheat disease, enabling identification of small chromosome intervals containing plausible candidate genes for STB resistance. 335 winter wheat cultivars were included in a replicated field experiment that experienced natural epidemic development by a highly diverse but fungicide-resistant pathogen population. More than 5.4 million automatically generated phenotypes were associated with 13,648 SNP markers to perform the GWAS. We identified 26 chromosome intervals explaining 1.9-10.6% of the variance associated with four independent resistance traits. Sixteen of the intervals overlapped with known STB resistance intervals, suggesting that our phenotyping approach can identify simultaneously (i.e., in a single experiment) many previously defined STB resistance intervals. Seventeen of the intervals were less than 5 Mbp in size and encoded only 173 genes, including many genes associated with disease resistance. Five intervals contained four or fewer genes, providing high priority targets for functional validation. Ten chromosome intervals were not previously associated with STB resistance, perhaps representing resistance to pathogen strains that had not been tested in earlier experiments. The SNP markers associated with these chromosome intervals can be used to recombine different forms of quantitative STB resistance that are likely to be more durable than pyramids of major resistance genes. Our experiment illustrates how high-throughput automated phenotyping can accelerate breeding for quantitative disease resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3285904
JournalPlant Phenomics
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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