AWC - Funded Research

An efficient system to identify virulence patterns of stripe rust in Canada

AWC Contribution: $61,500


Stripe rust is a destructive disease of wheat worldwide; combated mainly through growing resistant varieties. Because rust changes in virulence over a short period of time, constantly looking for non-defeated resistance sources is critical. This is done by screening isolates on wheat genotypes, that carries unique resistance gene, under controlled conditions. This project aims at doing so and also expanding these genotypes with regional lines that can translate to the benefit of Canadian producers.


This project aims at:

  1. Expanding the differential lines to integrate regional sources which will translate the information to Canadian producers.
  2. Ease breeding efforts in finding unidentified resistance sources existing in our own Canadian adopted genotypes and cultivars.

Benefits to producers:

Stripe rust is one of the most destructive diseases of wheat worldwide. In Canada severe epidemic of this disease have been occurring so frequently and the disease spread all over western Canada with severe infections reported in eastern part of the country. It affects all Canadian wheat classes. Stripe rust emerged as significant threat to wheat production in 2000 with the introduction of new races of the pathogen that are adapted to high temperature and have wide spectrum of virulence. Alberta is recognized as a hotspot for this disease because of its close proximity to severe infection regions of Pacific North West of the United States. The pathogen can overwinter in the mild winter conditions in southern Alberta. Recently; the pathogen has been reported to causes losses all over Canada, east and west. Wheat production in Canada currently averages 29 million metric tons and generating revenue over 5 billion each year. Losses of 9 %, as in 2016, would translate to millions of dollar annually. Therefore, identification and integration of new resistance sources is a high priority for scientist working on this disease to effectively manage it.


Dr. Reem Aboukhaddour is a Research Scientist in cereal pathology in AAFC at Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Alberta. Her expertise includes understanding dynamics of fungal pathogen virulence and pathogenicity. Her research focuses on wheat yellow rust, leaf spots.