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Scientists sequence genomes of 2 major threats to American food and fuel
Date:5/5/2011

stem rust has caused major epidemics of both barley and wheat worldwide. A new strain known as Ug99 has recently spread across Africa and into Central Asia, and is able to overcome most of the stem-rust-resistant wheat varieties developed over the past 50 years.

Poplar leaf rust can cause losses of up to 50 percent of annual growth in poplar tree plantations. Poplar is an important crop for the wood industry and is becoming increasingly important to the biofuel industry in the United States and Europe because their rapid and significant biomass production.

"These pathogens pose a great threat to two very important agricultural crops. The more we can learn about them, from the molecular underpinnings of the pathogenicity to their survival and spread, the better we will be able to develop effective, safe and long-lasting control strategies," said Marty Carson, ARS-CDL research leader. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy and promoting international food security.

The team's sequence data, gathered since the projects began in 2004/2005, has been released in GenBank, a genetic database administered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health.


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Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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