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Naturally Occurring Gene May Prevent Wheat Diseases

First Posted: Nov 10, 2015 01:27 PM EST

Researchers have identified a gene that may help prevent many wheat diseases, according to a recent study.

The study authors fond that the gene Lr67 provided resistance to three of the most important wheat diseases in Norway, along with powdery mildew.

During the study, researchers at the University of Sydney's Plant Breeding Institute (PBI), the CSIRO, CIMMYT (Mexico), University of Newcastle, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, worked to clone the naturally occurring gene that provides resistance to multiple pathogens of wheat.

"Estimates put potential losses from wheat rust diseases in Australia alone at more than one-and-a-half billion dollars each year," Principal research fellow at the PBI, Associate Professor Harbans Bariana, said in a news release. He noted how rust diseases are among the most significant constraints to global wheat production . "The transfer of the gene Lr67 into modern wheat cultivars is already in progress at the University of Sydney component of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program. Its transfer to future wheat varieties through marker assisted selection (MAS) based on this work will increase diversity for resistance."

The study is published in the journal Nature Genetics

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