Crop Biotech Update

Aarhus University Researchers Release New Insights in Rust Resistance in Wheat

December 12, 2018

One of the devastating diseases that threaten the world's wheat production is yellow rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst). Approximately 88 percent of wheat production is susceptible to yellow rust and estimates say that the disease ruins at least five million tons of the global annual wheat harvest.

A large international group of researchers zoomed in on the gene sequence of the Yr15 resistance gene in wheat. Yr15 is a broad-spectrum R-gene derived from wild emmer wheat and is known for being one of the most effective resistance genes against yellow rust due to its unique mode of action. The international group of researchers mapped the gene sequence of Yr15 and investigated how the resistance gene prevents fungal growth inside the infected wheat plant.

According to Professor Mogens Støvring Hovmøller from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University, Yr15 works differently than other resistance genes. They have discovered that Yr15 produces defense responses early in the infection process, and there is only one single case where the fungus could bypass this defense.

For more details, read the news release or download the open access paper in Nature Communications.