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Scientists pinpoint disease-fighting gene in bread wheat

25-Feb-2009

An international team of researchers has identified a gene that could make bread wheat capable of resisting stripe rust, a disease that causes severe crop losses in global wheat-growing regions.

The newly identified Yr36 resistance gene was first discovered in wild emmer wheat, a low-yielding wheat that grows wild in Israel. The gene is absent from modern wheat varieties used for making bread and pasta.

Publication of the gene sequence should enable breeders to use sequence-based DNA markers to incorporate Yr36 into new wheat varieties.

The research, published in the week's Science, was funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and the US - Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund.