Wheat yellow rust
Cristobal Uauy and Andrew Davis (JIC)
The spread of exotic and aggressive isolates of plant fungus, such as the yellow rust infecting this wheat leaf, presents a serious threat to UK wheat production. Scientists at JIC, TGAC, The Sainsbury Lab and NIAB have developed a new surveillance technique termed “field pathogenomics” which can rapidly analyse the DNA of these fungal diseases to pinpoint the exact strain of the rust spores. The technique has uncovered the dramatic shift in the populations of yellow rust in the UK, largely due to an influx of fungal spores from outside the country, but also revealing a much greater diversity in the home population. This data will give plant breeders, farmers and agronomists an edge in managing the disease and breeding resistant plants and the technique has the potential to be applied to other plant and animal pathogens.