Quantitative resistance to maize common rust (causal agent Puccinia sorghi) was assessed in an association mapping population of 274 diverse inbred lines. Resistance to common rust was found to be moderately correlated with resistance to three other diseases and with the severity of the hypersensitive defense response previously assessed in the same population. Using a mixed linear model accounting for the confounding effects of population structure and flowering time, genome-wide association tests were performed based at 246,497 single-nucleotide polymorphism loci. Three loci associated with maize common rust resistance were identified. Candidate genes at each locus had predicted roles, mainly in cell wall modification. Other candidate genes included a resistance gene and a gene with a predicted role in regulating accumulation of reactive oxygen species.
Keywords: QTL; association analysis; disease resistance; linkage disequilibrium.