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Wild Wheat Gene Could Help Conquer Stripe Rust

International research team finds gene in wild wheat in Israel.

Wheat breeders will soon have a new weapon in their fight against virulent forms of stripe rust that have come on strong in the last decade and have been responsible for defeating well-know disease-resistance genes in popular wheat varieties.

The gene was identified by an international team of researchers working in Israel. It was identified in wild emimer wheat, a variety that grows wild in Israel. The gene is not found in modern wheat varieties.

Stripe rust is caused by a windborne fungus and has been a growing problem in Kansas in recent years because of a weather pattern of mild winters and wet springs. It is more prevalent in central and southern Kansas than in the drier western half of the state.

Identification of this new gene will give breeders the ability to enhance new wheat varieties with resistance to stripe rust.

The research that discovered the gene was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.

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