One of the devastating diseases that threaten the world's wheat production
is yellow rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst).
Approximately 88 percent of wheat production is susceptible to yellow rust
and estimates say that the disease ruins at least five million tons of the
global annual wheat harvest.
A large international group of researchers zoomed in on the gene sequence of
the Yr15 resistance gene in wheat. Yr15 is a broad-spectrum R-gene derived
from wild emmer wheat and is known for being one of the most effective
resistance genes against yellow rust due to its unique mode of action. The
international group of researchers mapped the gene sequence of Yr15 and
investigated how the resistance gene prevents fungal growth inside the
infected wheat plant.
According to Professor Mogens St?vring Hovm?ller from the Department of
Agroecology at Aarhus University, Yr15 works differently than other
resistance genes. They have discovered that Yr15 produces defense responses
early in the infection process, and there is only one single case where the
fungus could bypass this defense.