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Crop Biotech Update

University of Sydney Scientists Help Create Wheat Resistant to Stem Rust

July 17, 2013

Scientists from the University of Sydney are working with a team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), U.S. and China on the molecular cloning of wheat stem rust resistance gene Sr33. The research team used a gene from goat grass, a plant closely related to wheat. Professor Harbans Bariana from the University of Sydney said that their CSIRO colleagues cloned Sr33, inserted it in a modern wheat variety and tested it for stem rust resistance.

The latest edition of the journal Science which reported the University's collaborative research, also describes a study conducted in the U.S. that identified a different gene, Sr35, in a plant related to wheat and able to provide good levels of stem rust resistance.

Professor Bariana said "It is the long-term interest of wheat breeders to develop varieties with broad spectrum resistance through combinations of different genes, but to do that we need to understand the nature of resistance genes." Both studies have delivered robust markers to combine Sr33 and Sr35 in future wheat varieties.

For more information, read the news release from the University of Sydney available at: