Genetic comparison of Ug99 with selected South African races of Puccinia graminis f.sp. tritici.
Using simple sequence repeat (SSR) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) marker analyses, the genetic structure of selected South African wheat stem rust races was compared with Ug99. SSR analysis divided the population into two distinct groups with 24.5% similarity between them. A local race, UVPgt55 (North American race notation TTKSF), grouped with Ug99 (TTKSK) with a 100% similarity. When AFLP data were included, the same groups were found, but with an increased similarity of 66.7%. Although the SSR data were unable to distinguish between all individual isolates, the AFLP data alone and in combination with the SSR data discriminated between the isolates. The grouping of individual isolates resembled the pathogenicity profile of the different races. On the basis of its similarity with Ug99, it was concluded that UVPgt55 was most probably an exotic introduction into South Africa, whereas the other races specialized locally through mutational adaptation.