Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) have
identified a gene that enables wheat resistance to the stem rust strain UG99
that was discovered in Uganda in 1999. Stem rust is a devastating fungal
disease that hampers wheat production throughout Africa and Asia and
threatening food security worldwide.
UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his team identified three
different resistance forms of Sr13, a gene from pasta wheat that is
effective against Ug99 and another group of virulent stem-rust strains from
Yemen and Ethiopia. In 2013, Dubcovsky and fellow researchers discovered
another gene called Sr35 that also provides resistance to Ug99. The team is
close to identifying a third gene that confers protection from the stem rust
"Wheat provides a substantial amount of calories and proteins consumed by
humans. We hope that a better understanding of the wheat-rust pathosystem
will speed the development of new strategies to control this devastating
pathogen," Dubcovsky said.