Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops that expand its adaptation from very high north and south
latitudes in temperate areas, through subtropical and tropical environments in north and south of the equator. As many
as 18 foliar diseases are reported to occur in India, but common rust of maize caused by Puccinia sorghi Schw. is considered
to be a major disease. Due to the high virulence of Puccinia sorghi Schw. in maize field populations, genetic variability of this
fungus has been accounted as one of the chief causes of disruption in cultivar resistance. Virulence diversity of Puccinia sorghi
Schw. in maize has been mainly attributed to parasexual recombination and mutation processes. Morphologically, it is difficult
to distinguish between various isolates of Puccinia sorghi Schw. Research work with respect to the molecular variation of this
pathogen in India is limited and needs further investigation.
An experiment was conducted at University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka to detect molecular variation
in Puccinia sorghi Schw. through molecular tool viz., RAPD. In this study, molecular variation in the pathogen shall serve as a
guideline for breeding suitable maize varieties against common rust disease which seriously affects maize productivity. Losses in
total yield in late-planted sweet corn were 18 per cent, 26 per cent and 49 per cent for cv. Sugarloaf (most resistant), cv. Jubilee
(intermediate) and cv. Style Pak (most susceptible), respectively. Out of 10 primers used, 3 primers viz., OPA-19 (11.11 %), OPB-
17 (20 %) and OPF-2 (14 %) showed polymorphism. The similarity coefficient values revealed that, the least similarity (81 %) was
between Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh, Haryana-Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh-Haveri isolates. The maximum similarity (100
%) was found between Andhra Pradesh-Haryana and Belgaum-Jammu & Kashmir isolates. Bihar isolate formed entirely separate
cluster within group A; whereas Tamil Nadu-Maharashtra and Bijapur-Haveri isolates formed separate clusters within group A.
In group B, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bengaluru isolates formed entirely separate clusters respectively.
Utpal Dey has received B.Sc. (Agri.) degree from Central Agricultural University, Imphal, Manipur and M.Sc. (Agri.) specialization in Plant Pathology degree from University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka. Now he is doing Ph.D. degree from Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, Parbhani, Maharashtra. He has received additional degree in Journalism and Mass Communication (PGDMCJ). He has published four research papers in
reputed National and International Journals, 11 popular articles. He has participated in several National and State level conferences.
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