Background: Rice blast disease, caused by Magnaporthe oryzae, is a major constraint for rice production in the world. Introgression of blast-durable resistance genes into high-yielding rice cultivars has been considered an agricultural priority in an effort to control the disease. The blast resistance Pik locus, located on chromosome 11, contains at least six important resistance genes, but these genes have not been widely employed in resistance breeding since existing markers hardly satisfy current breeding needs owing to their limited scope of application.
Results: In the present study, two PCR-based markers, Pikp-Del and Pi1-In, were developed to target the specific InDel (insertion/deletion) of the Pik-p and Pi-1 genes, respectively. The two markers precisely distinguished Pik-p, Pi-1, and the K-type alleles at the Pik locus, which is a necessary element for functional genes from rice varieties.
Conclusions:Two gene-specific markers of Pi-kp and Pi1 identified that only several old varieties contain the two genes, nearly half these varieties yet carry the K-type alleles. Therefore, these identified varieties can be new gene sources for developing blast resistant rice. The two newly developed markers should be highly useful for using Pi-kp, Pi1 and other resistance genes at the Pik locus in marker-assisted selection (MAS) breeding programs.