For more than 20 years, a large international group of researchers, including from Aarhus University, has worked purposefully to investigate the function and genetics of Yr15 resistance, a gene that protects wheat against yellow rust. Yellow rust is a widespread and serious fungal disease that causes many losses in wheat globally. The researchers' new knowledge is an important piece in the jigsaw regarding the development of new cultivars of wheat that are resistant to yellow rust. The results were recently published in Nature Communications.
Wheat is one of the world's most important crops. On the global scale 244 million hectares are grown, which is more area than any other crop. The yield is more than 750 million tons per year. Wheat is widely used for both food and feed so it is therefore important to protect it against fungal diseases.
Diseases - Wheat - Disease - Rust - Percent
One of the diseases that can infect wheat is the fungal disease yellow rust. Approximately 88 percent of wheat production is susceptible to yellow rust and a conservative estimate says that the disease ruins at least five million tons of the global annual wheat harvest.
The pathogenic fungus evolves quickly to produce new, virulent strains, so there is a constant arms race between plant breeders to develop disease-resistant varieties of wheat and the rust fungus. With a better understanding of the mechanisms that the wheat plant uses for self-defence, plant breeders will be more well-equipped for the task. This is precisely the area in which the research group can contribute significant new results.
The researchers zoomed in on the...
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