Scientists solve 30-year wheat rust genetics puzzle

Researchers from the University of Sydney, CSIRO, the United Kingdom’s John Innes Centre, Limagrain UK and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) have isolated the first major resistance genes against the harmful stripe rust disease that is devastating wheat crops worldwide. The finding by the scientists, who have cloned three associated rust resistance genes – called Yr7, Yr5, and YrSP – will validate these important genes to be accurately monitored and integrated into breeding programs in the fight against ever-changing pathogens that could kill about 70 percent or more of whole wheat crops at a time. Wheat is relied on by more than one-third of the world’s population and one of the most economically important stable foods. Wheat rust is one of the most widespread and devastating diseases and stripe rust – which is bright yellow and shaped as stripes – is the most problematic of these pathogens worldwide because it easily adapts to different climates and environments, and there are not many effective genes that breeders can use in their varieties. Original Link: