Crop Biotech Update

Cloned Genes to Build Stem Rust Resistance

October 14, 2011

Scientists Andy Kleinhofs and Jayaveeramuthu Nirmala of Washington State University have identified and cloned barley's disease-fighting gene and the stem rust signaling gene that could open possible strategies in the development of stem rust resistance including the devastating stem rust strain Ug99. The research team have successfully cloned the resistance gene Rpg1 and combined with currently discovered signaling gene gives a much stronger resistance against stem rust.

"Now that we understand how the plant-pathogen interaction mechanism works, we hope we can manipulate it to build resistance in plants," said Andy Kleinhofs, professor of molecular genetics in WSU's Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. With further research, he added, that understanding could lead to new, more effective ways to battle crop diseases such as stem rust and Ug99.

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