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Wheat Genetics Resource Center I/UCRC

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Welcome to the WGRC Industry/University Cooperative Research Center

A public-private consortium to mobilize genetic diversity to enhance wheat yield and meet food security needs.

Kansas State University researchers identify gene to resist wheat streak mosaic virus

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University researchers have identified a gene that will provide resistance to the wheat streak mosaic virus, a disease that is currently causing economic losses in Kansas fields.

Bernd Friebe, a research professor with the Wheat Genetic Resources Center in the Department of Plant Pathology said the Wsm3 gene is just the third gene known to provide resistance to the virus – and the first that can do so at outdoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

“We need more genetic diversity” for controlling wheat streak mosaic virus, Friebe said. “Leaf, stripe and stem rust each have about 70 named resistant genes. This is progress toward developing more resistance toward wheat streak mosaic virus.”

Wheat streak mosaic virus is characterized by streaks of yellow-non-uniform discoloration in wheat. Plants infected as seedlings are often stunted and have a reduced head size. The disease causes yield losses so severe that in extreme cases the crop can not be harvested.

Kansas Wheat, a partnership between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, reported in late May that the wheat streak mosaic virus is negatively affecting fields in western and central Kansas. Crop losses could be as high as 20 percent in some areas.

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