GM disease-resistant wheat closer to commercialization after successful field trial

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Wheat stem rust. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

A joint venture project between the [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation] and a US foundation has had recent success with a field trial of a wheat variety stacked with five wheat rust resistance genes.

The collaboration between CSIRO, the University of Minnesota [and the nonprofit foundation] 2Blades has recently demonstrated strong field resistance to stem rust disease in wheat plants containing a stack of five resistance genes. Since 2008, 2Blades has led an international wheat rust consortium with the aim of fighting wheat stem and stripe rusts by sourcing and combining resistance genes from wheat and its relatives.

CSIRO research director Steve Swain said the institute had a big focus on crop diseases. “Our biggest focus is on wheat and rust … wheat is Australia’s largest field crop, and rust is one of the most serious threats to our wheat crop,” Dr Swain said.

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Read full, original article: International project working to beat wheat rust

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