AUSTRALIAN researchers have made a breakthrough in combatting a global stem rust strain threatening the world’s wheat crops
CSIRO post-doctoral fellow Sam Periyannan has cloned a stem rust resistance gene known as Sr33 which provides protection against all the known rust races prevalent throughout the world.
Importantly, it has shown moderate resistance to the Ug99 stem rust strain first discovered in Uganda and spreading through the Middle East and Indian subcontinent regions.
About 90 per cent of the world’s wheat varieties are believed to be susceptible to the Ug99 stem rust race.
CSIRO research group leader Mick Ayliffe said the Sr33 gene was found in goat grass, an ancient relative of wheat.
“The gene has been introduced into wheat using genetics and molecular biology techniques,” Dr Ayliffe said.
“And then Sam has cloned the gene.”
Dr Ayliffe said the cloned gene made it easier to identify how the resistance works against stem rust.
He said the cloned gene could be used as a marker by plant breeders to incorporate resistance into new wheat varieties.
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