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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify Gene that Enables Wheat Resistance to Stem Rust

November 22, 2017

Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have identified a gene that enables wheat resistance to the stem rust strain UG99 that was discovered in Uganda in 1999. Stem rust is a devastating fungal disease that hampers wheat production throughout Africa and Asia and threatening food security worldwide.

UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his team identified three different resistance forms of Sr13, a gene from pasta wheat that is effective against Ug99 and another group of virulent stem-rust strains from Yemen and Ethiopia. In 2013, Dubcovsky and fellow researchers discovered another gene called Sr35 that also provides resistance to Ug99. The team is close to identifying a third gene that confers protection from the stem rust strain.

"Wheat provides a substantial amount of calories and proteins consumed by humans. We hope that a better understanding of the wheat-rust pathosystem will speed the development of new strategies to control this devastating pathogen," Dubcovsky said.

For more information, read the UC Davis report.