An international team of researchers led by the John Innes Centre, The
Sainsbury Laboratory, and the University of Minnesota have identified
the stem rust resistance genefrom a wild goat grass species.
The researchers found the gene in/Aegilops sharonensis/, a wild relative
of wheat found in Israel and southern Lebanon. Using bioinformatic
advantages, the research team developed the first accurate genomemap
of/A. sharonensis/. Using the genetic map and Mutant Hunter, a search
tool technique, the team scanned the genome for mutations that were
different in plants that were immune to stem rust, a disease that has
troubled farmers for millennia.
They identified a candidate gene, which they isolated and transferred
into a susceptible plant, where it conferred strong protection against
all tested strains of the wheat stem rust fungus,/Puccinia graminis/f.
sp./tritici/. The experiments showed that the Sr62 gene encodes a
molecule called a tandem protein kinase. The researchers plan to include
the new gene in a stack of genes â?? bred into commonly used wheat
varieties â?? usinggenetic modification technology. They predict that more
resistance genes will be identified in and cloned from populations of/A.
sharonensis/and other wild grasses using their methods of gene discovery
The hardy wild grass that could save our bread | John Innes Centre