Resistance gene discovery and cloning by sequence capture and association genetics

Genetic resistance is the most economic and environmentally sustainable approach for crop disease protection. Disease resistance (R) genes from wild relatives are a valuable resource for breeding resistant crops. However, introgression of R genes into crops is a lengthy process often associated with co-integration of deleterious linked genes and pathogens can rapidly evolve to overcome R genes when deployed singly3. Introducing multiple cloned R genes into crops as a stack would avoid linkage drag and delay emergence of resistance-breaking pathogen races4. However, current R gene cloning methods require segregating or mutant progenies, which are difficult to generate for many wild relatives due to poor agronomic traits. We exploited natural pan-genome variation in a wild diploid wheat by combining association genetics with R gene enrichment sequencing (AgRenSeq) to clone four stem rust resistance genes in <6 months. RenSeq combined with diversity panels is therefore a major advance in isolating R genes for engineering broad-spectrum resistance in crops.