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New milestone welcomed in worldwide struggle against wheat rusts

21.12.17

Dr Matthew Moscou

Dr Matthew Moscou

Two new scientific studies published today bring new promise in the quest for resistance against the ancient pathogen, wheat rust.

The papers which appear in the peer reviewed journal Science reveal new insights into the genetic make-up of the pathogen and call for complex, integrated solutions to a challenge that has been around almost since the dawn of agriculture.

Welcoming the implications of the important new research in an article for Sciencemag.org Drs Matthew Moscou and Peter Van Esse, from The Sainsbury Laboratory, write:

“If history has taught us one lesson, it is that a single approach to control disease will fail. Integrated approaches that increase crop genetic diversity, reduce the evolvability of pathogens, and the use of modern technologies are key to protecting the world’s crops.”

The research papers are led by groups at Kansas State University (Variation in the AvrSr35 gene determines Sr35 resistance against wheat stem rust race Ug99.) and CSIRO, Canberra/University of Sydney (Loss of AvrSr50 by somatic exchange in stem rust leads to virulence for Sr50 resistance in wheat).