Using Rust-Tracker data, Hodson and his colleagues in Beijing are developing "risk maps" that can assist researchers in countries in the path of virulent strains of stem rust and yellow rust to assess the severity of the threat and prepare to resist it.
Taking the new wheat to the farmers
"The only manageable solution for farmers who cannot afford fungicides when rust hits is to replace their crop with new rust-resistant varieties," Coffman said. "And this is a challenge when the wheat looks healthy."
"Planting only five percent of a nation's wheat fields with seed from resistant varieties would allow replacement of susceptible varieties within a year, if Ug99 should appear," Coffman said.
Leading the efforts to accomplish that aim are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan, which are choosing from among the more than 20 rust-resistant varieties developed by ICARDA and CIMMYT. All eight nations are expected to pass the 5 percent mark in the 2012-13 growing season. The new varieties are not only resistant to stem rust but to other rusts as well, Coffman said.
"It's frustrating," Coffman said. "We have the technology to prevent a tragedy that could destroy crops in one of the world's most important wheat-producing regions, an area that is already vulnerable to hunger and civil unrest. But the funding is not in place to get enough rust-resistant wheat seed multiplied fast enough and into the hands of the people who need it."
Seeking solutions in wild relatives of wheat
As part of a global effort to stay ahead of the rapidly mutating pathogen, a group of researchers from the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, the University of Minnesota and the Univer
|Contact: Coimbra Sirica|