Developing wheat with resistance against Mycosphaerella fungus difficult but closer than ever

  • Sarrah Ben Mbarek

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Description

Developing wheat varieties with resistance to the feared leaf blotch disease may be very difficult, but recent studies carried out at Wageningen UR have brought it closer than ever. This is clear from research of the Dutch-Tunisian Sarrah Ben M’Barek-Ben Romdhane who obtained her doctorate on this subject at Wageningen University on 17 October. Ben M’Barek and her colleagues mapped the complete DNA of the pathogen that causes septoria leaf blotch - the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola. They showed that the fungus can lose entire chromosomes during sexual reproduction without any visible effect. Ben M’Barek also found that the fungus can attack wheat plants in various ways. These findings explain why it has been so difficult thus far to develop resistant wheat varieties. The new knowledge provides clues that will stimulate the development of those varieties, increasing the security and sustainability of food production
Period27 Oct 2011

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