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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Cereal Disease Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357154

Research Project: Cereal Rust: Pathogen Biology and Host Resistance

Location: Cereal Disease Lab

Title: The Rust Fungi

item Kolmer, James - Jim
item ORDONEZ, MARIA - Pontifical Catholic University Of Ecuador
item GROTH, JAMES - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2018
Publication Date: 11/16/2019
Citation: Kolmer, J.A., Ordonez, M., Groth, J. 2019. The Rust Fungi. In: John Wiley & Sons Ltd., editors. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. Hoboken, NJ:Wiley. 1039-9.

Interpretive Summary: The rusts are a distinct group of fungi that cause many important plant diseases. Many types of rust fungi have up to five different spore stages in their life cycle. Rust fungi have many important characteristics that allow them to obtain nutrients from plants and cause diseases of important crop plants over large geographic areas.

Technical Abstract: The rust fungi are a monophyletic group of approximately 7,000 species in the Basidiomycota and are highly specialized obligate parasites of plants. The life cycle of rusts can be complex. Some rusts have up to five spore stages that alternate between haploid and dikaryotic nuclear conditions and that can occur on two taxonomically unrelated host plants. The rusts have evolved specialized structures that allow them to penetrate and obtain nutrients from living host cells. Biologic forms of a single rust species may differ in ability to attack different genera of host plants. Furthermore, within a single rust species they can be highly variable in ability to attack different genotypes of one host species. At the species level, genes that condition avirulence/virulence in rusts interact in a specific relationship with rust resistance genes in plants. Many of the most important plant diseases in the world are caused by rust fungi.