Gene for Stem Rust Resistance in Wheat Solves Decades-Old Genomic MysteryMarch 4, 2020
Researchers have shed light on the mystery of what makes bread wheat susceptible to the devastating disease stem rust. For decades, researchers knew that something in the wheat's genome was suppressing the plant's resistance to stem rust. Now, researchers at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) have identified the underlying genetic mechanism that is causing this suppression, removing a stubborn barrier to developing crops with stronger immunity using modern genomic tools.
At the heart of the mystery is the notoriously complex bread wheat genome which is composed of three separate genomes A, B, and D. These came from three different independently evolved grass species. In the 1960s, Canadian researcher Eric Kerber showed that when the D genome was removed, the plant switched from being susceptible to rust to resistant. More research 20 years later proved that the cause of this phenomenon was a gene on a single locus on chromosome 7D that was suppressing wheat's resistance to stem rust.
In the TSL study, researchers inoculated wheat plants with stem rust and compared the responses to a range of mutant plants without the suppressor gene. Normally, wheat responds to stem rust with around 8,000 genes being expressed. In the TSL tests, a mutant responded with around 2,200 genes, another mutant with 55 genes. Critically, these mutant plants are resistant, whereas the parent wheat plant is susceptible.
Dr. Matthew Moscou, one of the lead authors of the study, explains that while plants responding to the pathogen would be a good thing, it does not make it resistant. This is the opposite. The plant that is responding is the susceptible one and the one not responding is the resistant one.
For more details, read the news article from The Sainsbury Laboratory or the paper in Nature Communications.
You might also like:
- Australian Scientists Develop New Method to Produce Drought-Resilient Wheat Quickly, Cheaply, and Accurately
- Rain-resistant Wheat Developed Using Genome Editing
- Chinese Scientists' Genome-Edited Wheat to Help Control Weeds
Biotech Updates is a weekly newsletter of ISAAA, a not-for-profit organization. It is distributed for free to over 22,000 subscribers worldwide to inform them about the key developments in biosciences, especially in biotechnology. Your support will help us in our mission to feed the world with knowledge. You can help by donating as little as $10.
See more articles:
News from Around the World
- Global Study Reveals Next-Gen Consumers and Farmers Share Hopes for Future of Food and Farming
- Bioengineered Late Blight Resistant Potato to Benefit 300,000 Smallholder Farmers in Uganda
- Give Us GMOs as We Wait for Biosafety Law-Uganda's Local Government Officials
- Agri-biotech Information Resources Now Available in Filipino, Cebuano, and Ilocano
- South Australian Government Stands By Decision to Allow GM Crops
- ISAAA and SEARCA Continue 20-Year Commitment for Agri-Biotech in Southeast Asia
- Two GM Soybeans to Stay in the Market After EFSA Re-Evaluation
- Gene for Stem Rust Resistance in Wheat Solves Decades-Old Genomic Mystery
- Heterotrimeric G Protein Involved in Regulating Multiple Agronomic Traits in Rice
- CRISPR-Cas9 Used to Increase Rice Resistance to Abiotic Stresses
Read the latest:
- Biotech Updates (March 22, 2023)
- Genome Editing Supplement (March 22, 2023)
- Gene Drive Supplement (February 22, 2023)
Subscribe to BU: