February 24, 2009, Updated September 24, 2012

Israeli-US team discover wheat gene with resistance to stripe rustResearchers from Israel and America have discovered a gene that will make bread wheat capable of resisting stripe rust, a fungus that causes crop losses in many states.
The scientists, including researchers from the University of Haifa, and the University of California-Davis, transferred a resistant gene, known as Yr36, from a race of wild wheat into a handful of domesticated pasta and bread wheat varieties. The wild wheat was collected in Israel, where ancient varieties of wheat have grown for centuries, according to Ann Blechl, a geneticist at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California.
The research was published today in the journal Science. Publication of the gene sequence should give breeders the ability to use sequence-based DNA markers to incorporate resistance into new wheat varieties.
Wheat producers in the US have been battling stripe rust since the 1950s. In 2003, the disease wiped out 25 percent of the wheat crop in California.

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