Submitted to: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2005
Publication Date: 6/20/2005
Citation: Kolmer, J.A. 2005. Tracking wheat rust on a continental scale. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 8:441-449.
Interpretive Summary: Wheat is attacked by three types of fungi that are called rusts. Wheat leaf rust, wheat stripe rust, and wheat stem rust are important diseases that occur throughout the world. The wheat rust diseases are spread by air-borne spores that can be carried for thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans. Wheat rust diseases have recently been introduced to Australia and South Africa by air-borne spores. Many different races of wheat rusts are found and described every year. New races of wheat rusts have recently been introduced to North America, Australia, and South Africa. The high degree of pathogenic variability and widespread dissemination of the wheat rusts have made the development and breeding of rust resistant wheat throughout the world much more difficult. Information on virulence and molecular genetic variation in the wheat rusts can be used to trace patterns of migration and spread of these important pathogens, which can ultimately lead to development of improved strategies for use of rust resistance genes in wheat.
Technical Abstract: The rusts of wheat are important fungal plant pathogens that can be wind disseminated for thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans. Rusts are obligate parasites that interact with resistance genes in wheat in a gene-for-gene manner. New races of rust develop by mutation and selection for virulence to rust resistance genes in wheat. In recent years new races of wheat leaf rust, wheat stripe rust, and wheat stem rust have been introduced to wheat production areas from different continents, thus complicating efforts to develop wheat cultivars with durable rust resistance and reducing the number of effective rust resistance genes available for use. Migration patterns of wheat rusts are characterized by virulence to important rust resistance genes in wheat and by molecular markers.