A stem rust similar to the one
infecting this wheat could be a major problem for many wheat varieties grown
here and in the developing world. Click the image for more information about
ARS, Cooperators Fight New Strain of Wheat Stem
Rust By Kim
Kaplan February 1, 2006
Potential damage to African wheat from a new strain of wheat stem rust
could be avoided, thanks to research that Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have shared with
researchers in East Africa.
Researchers have screened U.S. wheat varieties in Kenya for resistance
to Ug99, the most virulent new strain of wheat stem rust in 50 years. This
could help avoid a major threat to wheat growing there and around the
Leaders in wheat research from ARS and other organizations met at a
Global Rust Summit organized by Nobel Peace Prize winner and father of the
Green Revolution Norman Borlaug and held in Nairobi, Kenya, in
September 2005, to enlist aid to address the Ug99 problem. Ug99 was first found
in Uganda in 1999, but it has now spread to Kenya and Ethiopia, with the
potential to seriously damage wheat production.
Simmons, ARS national program leader for grain crops, and
Richard Bennett, ARS national program leader for plant health, traveled to
Africa to contribute to the summit.
Even before the summit took place, a partnership of ARS, the
Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute and
the International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center began testing more than 800 U.S. wheat cultivars and genetic
resources in field trials in Kenya.
While most U.S. bread wheats are vulnerable, results from the Kenya
evaluation revealed good sources of resistance in each class of wheat.
The assistance that has been offered to Kenya was initiated to answer
the call for helping preserve wheat production in developing countries. But the
research also offers basic information that ARS may need some day, should Ug99
ever appear in the United States.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.