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  • 1 International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) P.O. Box 5466 Aleppo Syria
  • 2 CIMMYT P.K. 39 EMEK 06511 Ankara Turkey
  • 3 Research and Production Centre of Farming Almaty Kazakhstan
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A collection of 110 wheat varieties from different agroecological zones in Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC), Russia, and Ukraine were evaluated for growth habit (winter, facultative, spring), growth type (prostrate versus erect), days to heading, resistance to yellow rust and leaf rust, and quality traits. The study was conducted at the experimental farms of International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) at Terbol in Lebanon and Tel Hadya in Syria to identify promising rust resistant wheat cultivars and lines that can be used in crossing program by cooperative Turkey-CIMMYT-ICARDA winter wheat breeding program. The study also aimed to assess the distribution of winter versus facultative versus spring types in the regional gene pool. Higher frequencies of winter types occurred in germplasm from Ukraine, Russia, southern Kazakhstan, Armenia, Uzbekistan and Georgia, whereas the frequencies of spring wheat in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan were 33% and 20%, respectively. There were significant correlations between growth type, and both growth habit and cold tolerance ( r = 0.600*** and 0.57**). This indicates that winter wheat varieties tend to be prostrate and cold tolerant, whereas facultative and spring wheats have are more erect and cold sensitive. Among the tested material 60% of varieties were resistant to yellow rust and 44%—to leaf rust. More than 20 genotypes demonstrated resistance to both rusts and useful variation for other traits proving good parents for crosses.

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