Research student profile: Zia-ul-Qamar

Project title

Genetic characterization of rust resistance and quality in wheat

My research objectives include:

  1. Postulation of rust resistance in the Ist Australian Special Nursery supplied by CIMMYT, Mexico
  2. Genetic analysis of stem rust resistance in three durum wheat cultivars
  3. Identification of markers linked with leaf rust resistance genes Lr13 and Lr48 in wheat
  4. Characterisation of allelic variation for puroindoline genes in old landraces of wheat

A number of investigations have shown that wheat production can be hampered by rust diseases and the use of resistant cultivars has been realized as an economical and environment friendly solution. The rust pathogens evolve to render rust resistance genes deployed in commercial cultivars ineffective. Therefore, the knowledge of genetic diversity in available germplasm is necessary. The first objective aimed at the appreciation of prevailing genetic diversity among a set of nurseries combined together as the Ist Australian Special Nursery by the staff of CIMMYT, Mexico and to identify any new sources for rust resistance in this nursery against the Australian rust flora. Genotypes with combinations of rust resistance genes were identified and data were made available to global wheat breeding community.

The second objective dealt with understanding of the genetic basis of stem rust resistance in three South Australian durum cultivars. All cultivars were observed to carry the same stem rust resistance. These results indicated the narrow genetic diversity for stem rust resistance among these cultivars. Research is in progress to identify molecular markers closely linked with leaf rust resistance genes Lr13 and Lr48.

The fourth objective aimed at identification of new genetic variation at the puroindoline (Pin) loci among a collection of old landraces of wheat. Wheat is classified into two categories namely; hard and soft. Hardness and softness of wheat determines its end uses. Eight hundred and fifty landraces of wheat were analyzed by ECOTILLING approach. Genetic variation, that is not yet present in commercial cultivars grown in Australia, was identified.


I am an international postgraduate student from Pakistan. I completed my B.Sc. Agr. (Hons) degree in 1995 and my M.Sc. Agr. (Hons) in 1997 from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. I hold a senior scientist position in the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), Pakistan. I worked as senior scientist in the mutation breeding division of the institute for about five years and my area of research covered the development of low phytate basmati rice. I developed low phytate basmati rice (Cv. Super Basmati) mutants in collaboration with Dr Victor Raybuoy from USDA and FAO/IAEA.

In 2007, the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan awarded me a scholarship to pursue PhD studies at the University of Sydney.

During my postgraduate studies, I attended an International symposium on “induced mutations in plants” in Vienna, Austria (12-15 August, 2008) organized by FAO/IAEA. I also attended the 14th Australasian Plant Breeding and 11th SABRAO conference (10-14 August, 2009), Cairns, Australia and presented a poster entitled “Inheritance of stem rust resistance in three durum wheat cultivars”.


Zia-ul-Qamar, Bansal, U.K and Bariana, H.S. 2009. Inheritance of stem rust resistance in three durum wheat cultivars. In: 14th Australasian Plant Breeding and 11th SABRAO conference. August, 10-14, 2009. Cairns, Australia

Cheema, A. A., Zia-ul-Qamar, Rashid, M., Ashraf, M. 2008. Induction and evaluation of low phytic acid mutants in Basmati rice. In: International symposium on Induced mutations in Plants (12-15 August). FAO/IAEA, Vienna, Austria.

Zia-ul,-Qamar, Cheema, A. A., Ashraf, M., Rashid, M and Tahir G.R. 2005. Association analysis of some yields influencing traits in Aromatic and Non Aromatic rice (Oryza sativa L.). Pak. J. Bot.37 (3): 613-627

Cheema, A. A., Rashid, M., Ashraf, M., and Zia-ul-Qamar. 2004. Genetic divergence in rice collections. Pak. J. Bot.36 (3): 557-566
Ashraf, M., Cheema, A. A., Rashid, M and Zia-ul-Qamar. 2003. Effect of gamma rays on M1 generation in basmati rice. Pak. J. Bot. 35(5): 791-795

Rashid, M., Cheema, A. A., Ashraf, M., Zia-ul Qamar and Mahmood, Z. 2003. Development of basmati Rice varieties through the use of induced mutations and related techniques in rice. Pak. J. Bot. 35(5): 811-818.

Cheema, A. A., Rashid, M. Ashraf, M., Zia-ul-Qamar and Saleem, M. Y. 2003. Semi dwarf mutant Gene induced in basmati rice to alter plant type for sustainable agriculture. PP 62-67 in Proc “Sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for agricultural production”, December 17-19, 2002, PGRI.

Zia-ul-Qamar., Gillani, M. M. and Khan, F.A.1998.Path analysis of seedling traits and yield components in Brassica napus. J.Ani.Pl. Sci. 8 (3-4): 115-117.

Haneef, M, Arshad, M., Haidar,S., Afzal, M., Rashid, M. and Zia-ul- Qamar. 2001. The flowering and fruiting behavior of some commercial varieties of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L). Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 4 (8): 940-944.

Haneef, M., Zia-ul-Qamar, Arshad,M., Rashid, M., Rehmat Ali, Ch. and Haidar, S. 2001. Unidirectional and alternate pathway influences of some economic traits in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L). J. Agric. Res.39 (2): 109-118.


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