Biotech Updates

Researchers Work Together to Battle Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus

September 24, 2010

Wheat streak mosaic virus is the most widespread disease in the southwestern wheat producing region of the U.S., according to Texas AgriLife scientist Dr. Charlie Rush. Thus, Dr. Rush is currently gathering scientists to form teams that will work on the wheat disease on various aspects: vector to diagnosis and mapping to control.

"There are other diseases of concern, but wheat streak mosaic is always found somewhere in this wheat growing region, and every couple of years, we have an epidemic of it," Rush said.

There are several issues that make the disease more challenging. It would is hard to detect the presence of the disease in the field because the symptoms are the same with drought or nutrient deficiency. The vector wheat curl mite is too small to be seen in the field, thus it can be present in the field before it can be noticed. And also, there are no chemical controls that can be used to fight the disease.

Dr. Rush, together with other scientists working on the disease aim to present an entire management system that will help producers combat the destructive virus.

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