Biotech Updates

ARS Scientists Identify Genetic Resistance to Rice Sheath Blight

May 7, 2010

Sheath blight, a major disease that affects yield and grain quality of rice, is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service have identified sources of genetic resistance to the disease.

Plant pathologist Yulin Jia and colleagues identified and confirmed qShB9-2, the first genetic region found to have a major effect on controlling the disease. Georgia Eizenga's team found seven promising accessions and crossed some of them with domestic varieties to create new, resistant germplasm. Similarly, Shannon Pinson found chromosomal regions in recombinant inbred lines with genes that can help rice plants resist damage from sheath blight.

For more updates about research developments in sheath blight disease in rice, go to