Sexual recombination within the “Kranich” race of the yellow rust fungus Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici on Berberis vulgaris


An isolate of the “Kranich” race of the basidiomycete Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici (Pst), which causes yellow (stripe) rust on wheat, was selfed on Berberis vulgaris, the alternate (sexual) host for several rust fungi infecting cereals and grasses. Since 2011, the “Kranich” race has been detected in several European countries and it has contributed to the replacement of the pre-existing European Pst population. A sexual origin of the “Kranich” race has been suggested due to the high capacity of teliospore production and the genetic similarity to the populations in the centre of diversity of Pst in the near-Himalayan region. For the completion of the sexual life cycle, B. vulgaris was inoculated with basidiospores derived from germinating teliospores. Pycnia appeared on the adaxial side of the leaves 8 days after inoculation (dai) and subsequent fertilization resulted in the development of aecia on the abaxial side of the leaves from 15 dai. Inoculation of wheat seedlings with aeciospores from bulked aecia resulted in 124 progeny isolates. Twenty-three of these were randomly selected and genotyped using 19 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, which confirmed the parental origin of the progeny isolates. Eight heterozygous markers in the parental isolate revealed segregation in the progenies resulting in 18 novel multilocus genotypes, confirming recombination following sexual reproduction. This study demonstrated a high sexual capacity of the “Kranich” race, which highlights the risks associated with sexual reproduction under suitable conditions for rust development.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 199

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Fig. 1


  1. Ali, S., Leconte, M., Walker, A. S., Enjalbert, J., & de Vallavieille-Pope, C. (2010). Reduction in the sex ability of worldwide clonal populations of Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 47, 828–838.

  2. Ali, S., Gladieux, P., Leconte, M., Gautier, A., Justesen, A. F., Hovmoller, M. S., Enjalbert, J., & de Vallavieille-Pope, C. (2014). Origin, migration routes and worldwide population genetic structure of the wheat yellow rust pathogen Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici. PLoS Pathogens, 10, e1003903.

  3. Ali, S., Rodriguez-Algaba, J., Thach, T., Sørensen, C. K., Hansen, J. G., Lassen, P., Nazari, K., Hodson, D. P., Justesen, A. F., & Hovmøller, M. S. (2017). Yellow rust epidemics worldwide were caused by pathogen races from divergent genetic lineages. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8.

  4. Berlin, A., Djurle, A., Samils, B., & Yuen, J. (2012). Genetic variation in Puccinia graminis collected from oats, rye, and barberry. Phytopathology, 102, 1006–1012.

  5. Hovmøller, M. S., Justesen, A. F., & Brown, J. K. M. (2002). Clonality and long-distance migration of Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici in north-west Europe. Plant Pathology, 51, 24–32.

  6. Hovmøller, M. S., Walter, S., Bayles, R. A., Hubbard, A., Flath, K., Sommerfeldt, N., Leconte, M., Czembor, P., Rodriguez-Algaba, J., Thach, T., Hansen, J. G., Lassen, P., Justesen, A. F., Ali, S., & de Vallavieille-Pope, C. (2016). Replacement of the European wheat yellow rust population by new races from the Centre of diversity in the near-Himalayan region. Plant Pathology, 65, 402–411.

  7. Jin, Y., Szabo, L. J., & Carson, M. (2010). Century-old mystery of Puccinia striiformis life history solved with the identification of Berberis as an alternate host. Phytopathology, 100, 432–435.

  8. Leonard, K. J., & Szabo, L. J. (2005). Stem rust of small grains and grasses caused by Puccinia graminis. Molecular Plant Pathology, 6, 99–111.

  9. Rodriguez-Algaba, J., Walter, S., Sorensen, C. K., Hovmoller, M. S., & Justesen, A. F. (2014). Sexual structures and recombination of the wheat rust fungus Puccinia striiformis on Berberis vulgaris. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 70, 77–85.

  10. Rodriguez-Algaba, J., Sørensen, C. K., Labouriau, R., Justesen, A. F., & Hovmøller, M. S. (2017). Genetic diversity within and among aecia of the wheat rust fungus Puccinia striiformis on the alternate host Berberis vulgaris. Fungal Biology, 12, 541–549.

  11. Roelfs, A. P., & Groth, V. J. (1980). A comparison of virulence phenotypes in wheat stem rust populations reproducing sexually and asexually. Phytopathology, 70, 855–862.

  12. Wang, M. N., & Chen, X. M. (2013). First report of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) as an alternate host for the white stripe rust pathogen (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) under artificial inoculation. Plant Disease, 97, 839.

  13. Wang, M., & Chen, X. (2015). Barberry does not function as an alternate host for Puccinia striiformis f. sp.tritici in the U. S. Pacific northwest due to Teliospore degradation and barberry phenology. Plant Disease, 99, 1500–1506.

  14. Wang, Z., Zhao, J., Chen, X., Peng, Y., Ji, J., Zhao, S., Lv, Y., Huang, L., & Kang, Z. (2016). Virulence variations of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici isolates collected from Berberis spp. in China. Plant Disease, 100, 131–138.

  15. Wright, R. G., & Lennard, J. H. (1978). Mitosis in Puccinia striiformis. Transactions of the British Mycological Society, 70, 91–98.

  16. Zhao, J., Wang, L., Wang, Z., Chen, X., Zhang, H., Yao, J., Zhan, G., Chen, W., Huang, L., & Kang, Z. (2013). Identification of eighteen Berberis species as alternate hosts of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici and virulence variation in the pathogen isolates from natural infection of barberry plants in China. Phytopathology, 103, 927–934.

  17. Zhao, J., Wang, M., Chen, X., & Kang, Z. (2016). Role of alternate hosts in epidemiology and pathogen variation of cereal rusts. Annual Review of Phytopathology, 54, 207–228.

Download references


We thank S. Meier, E. Jørgensen, and J. H. Hansen for technical assistance in the barberry production, isolate multiplication, and SSR genotyping, respectively.


This research was supported by the European Commission, Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020-Sustainable Food Security (Grant number 773311–2, RUSTWATH) and the Danish Council of Strategic Research, Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education – Denmark (Grant Number 11-116241).

Author information

Correspondence to J. Rodriguez-Algaba.

Ethics declarations

The authors declare that their research is in compliance with the ethical responsibilities and standards of the European Journal of Plant Pathology.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodriguez-Algaba, J., Hovmøller, M.S. & Justesen, A.F. Sexual recombination within the “Kranich” race of the yellow rust fungus Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici on Berberis vulgaris. Eur J Plant Pathol (2020).

Download citation


  • Alternate host
  • Common barberry
  • Segregation
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Stripe rust