Alliance to focus on combating new threat of wheat stem rust
Wheat is a staple crop that provides an estimated 20 percent of calories and protein in the human diet worldwide, officials said. Recent epidemics of stem rust in Africa have been caused by the evolution of new rust strains that have overcome host resistance. These strains can destroy an entire crop, resulting in a serious threat to food security.
Through work with an international network of collaborators, 2Blades, headquartered in the United States, has identified multiple genes conferring stem rust resistance from the wheat plant and its relatives, which can provide strong disease resistance.
Since single genes are often rapidly overcome by pathogen evolution, 2Blades and CIMMYT will introduce a stack of multiple resistance genes into wheat through biotechnology to provide durable resistance.
Creating a resistance gene stack at a single genetic locus not only provides durability, but also facilitates moving the resistance into other varieties through breeding. If the stack is proven to be effective, the parties will seek funding to introduce it into elite CIMMYT wheat lines for distribution to countries that have biosafety regulations in place to utilize these cultivars.