Rust resistance in Australian Myrtaceae

The exotic plant pathogen myrtle rust has recently arrived in Australia with devastating effects for the environment and dependent industries.

Myrtle rust belongs to the eucalyptus / guava rust complex (Puccinia psidii sensu lato) and originates in South and Central America. It was first discovered in Australia in April 2010 and has since spread along the East coast from Southern New South Wales to Far Northern Queensland. In its native environment a large fraction of species exhibits resistance to this rust - presumably due to co-evolution. In Australia most Myrtaceae species are susceptible, which has devastating effects for the environment and industries that are dependent on these species.

We use a mixed approach to discover and characterise genetic markers of resistance to myrtle rust on a variety of Australian myrtaceae species. The approach includes discovery of resistant and susceptible individuals across several species, investigating the absence or presence of Ppr markers from eucalyptus in resistant individuals, transcriptome sequencing with next-generation sequencing platforms and bioinformatical analysis of high throughput data.