Biotech Updates

International Research Team Sequences Bread Wheat Genome; Finds Gene for Stripe Rust Resistance

March 16, 2022

Researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) together with their colleagues from South Africa, France, and the U.S. have assembled the highest quality genome to date for bread wheat cultivar called Kariega, which is a key South African wheat.

Kariega has a robust resistance to stripe rust, one of the three species of wheat rust. Using this genome, the researchers identified and cloned a key gene that confers stripe rust resistance. The research team identified the stripe rust resistance gene as Yr27, which they then cloned to study the gene function and molecular mechanisms of resistance. In future breeding efforts, the cloned genes could be transferred to cultivars during breeding, and could even be modified to alter a plant's disease recognition and resistance.

Naveenkumar Athiyannan, who worked on the project alongside KAUST's Michael Abrouk and Simon Krattinger said that Yr27 is a version, or allele, of a known leaf rust resistance gene. “Now that we know the exact sequences of both alleles, we may be able to engineer a new version of the gene that recognizes both diseases simultaneously,” he added.

For more details, read the news article in KAUST Discovery.

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