Biotech Updates

New Rust Resistant Wheat Seed Available By 2011

July 9, 2010

Global initiatives are currently taking place in order to defeat the notorious wheat pathogen called stem rust. This pathogen has been defeated by researchers led by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Normal Borlaug through breeding enhanced wheat varieties with rust resistant genes. However, the pathogen is back and alarming wheat growers because it comes in four new strains that have overcome the rust resistance genes of wheat. Thus, scientists are finding other sources of resistance against the stem rust, and so far they are successful. Sources include resistant lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), other breeding programs, and commercial suppliers. According to reports, the resistant seed should be available by 2011, ten years earlier than expected.

"With minor genes, the disease is not eliminated, but its attack on the plant is slowed," explains CIMMYT scientist Ravi Singh. "Like the code for a combination lock, several minor genes in tandem in the same variety are hard for the pathogen to 'decipher' and provide more durable resistance. CIMMYT's strategy has been to identify and breed minor genes into wheat varieties, as well as assisting partners in this challenging task."

Read the complete article at