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Researchers respond to the global food crisis by enabling resistance of wheat to rust diseases
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 12, 2022 03:06PM

Wheat has supplied about one-fifth of all calories and proteins consumed
worldwide. However, the cultivation ofwheathas reduced the diversity of
its varieties, and consequently, modern varieties are more vulnerable to
diseases, pests, and climate hazards.Climate changehas since created an
urgent need for wheat varieties that can thrive in extreme environmental
and climatic conditions and withstand pests and diseases.

An international team that includes researchers from Tel Aviv University
(TAU) has isolated three disease-resistance genes from wild grasses that
enable resistance to rust diseases that cause severe damage to wheat
yields worldwide. The three genes were isolated from plants preserved in
the Liberman Okinow Gene Bank of Wild Cereals at the Institute for
Cereal Crops Research (ICCR) at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life
Sciences at TAU. Two of the genes, providing immunity against stem rust
disease, were isolated by an international team led by researchers from
the United Kingdom. The third gene, isolated by TAU researchers,
provides resistance against two different diseases ?? leaf rust and
stripe rust, currently exacerbated due to rising temperatures around the

In addition to disease resistance, Prof. Amir Sharon's team at ICCR is
working with researchers worldwide to isolate genes for other beneficial
traits. They are collaborating with researchers from Ben-Gurion
University who recently isolated pest-resistance genes from wild wheat,
and in TAU where a team has identified a new gene in wheat progenitors,
that may provide endurance in an arid climate. The ICCR also implements
new technologies, including advances in biotechnology and genome editing
to create "a safe box for genes needed for new, improved varieties of
wheat that will give humanity larger crops and meet the challenges of
climate change."


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