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Crop Biotech Update

10 New Genes Identified for Resistance to Stripe Rust Disease

September 23, 2020
Photo Source: Lu Liu, Meinan Wang, Zhiwu Zhang, Deven R. See, and Xianming Chen

Stripe rust, one of the most destructive diseases of wheat, affects the production of the crop worldwide, especially in the United States. The disease can be controlled by chemicals, but these are deemed harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. Application of such chemicals is also very costly, and farmers prefer to grow wheat varieties that resist stripe rust and the development of such varieties is a top priority for wheat breeding programs.

To help develop such varieties, scientists from the US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Washington State University studied stripe rust resistance genes in 616 spring wheat varieties using the genome-wide association study approach. They used the GMS platform recently developed by the USDA-ARS Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research Unit.

Dr. Xianming Chen, a research plant pathologist at Washington State University and research geneticist at the USDA-ARS said they tested the wheat varieties with five predominant strains of the wheat stripe rust pathogen under controlled greenhouse conditions and in field locations under natural infection of the pathogen. They were able to identify 37 genes, including 10 new genes, that show resistance to stripe rust.

For more details, read the open-access paper in the August 2020 edition of Plant Disease.

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