Rusts are a type of fungal disease that affect many plants, including wheat and some fruits. In Australia, rusts are a particular concern to wheat and barley farmers, with whole seasons’ crop sometimes being wiped out. Now new Australian research has added another line of defence against these crop diseases.
Australian crops have been well protected for the past 60 years by breeding rust-resistant crop varieties that inhibit the development of rust diseases. Rust pathogens, however, are very adaptable and can rapidly evolve into new strains that can infect previously rust-resistant plants.
In 1999 a new virulent strain of stem rust was discovered in Uganda (so-called “Ug99”) which has spread to Iran and is encroaching on Asia. Ug99 is particularly devastating as it can overcome many of the current resistance genes leaving many wheat crops vulnerable to…
View original post 476 more words