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December 22nd, 2017 / BBC, UK

Scientists say they have made a step forward in the fight against a wheat disease that threatens food security.

Wheat is a staple food crop, making up a fifth of the calories on our plates.
But in many parts of the world, the crop is being attacked by stem rust (black rust), a fungus that can ravage a farmer’s fields.

Researchers from the UK, US and Australia identified genetic clues that give insights into whether a crop will succumb to stem rust.

They discovered a gene in the fungus that triggers a wheat plant’s natural defences. A second pathway has been discovered which switches on a wheat plant’s immune response.

The research, reported in the journal Science, gives new tools for protecting crops from the deadly pathogen. Read more