Replacement of the European wheat yellow rust population by new races from the centre of diversity in the near-Himalayan region

New scientific article - Plant Pathology April 2016

Yellow rust race frequencies 2011-2014. Click on the map to enlarge.

The yellow rust fungus is genetically very diverse in the Himalayas, where it can infect wheat and barley as well as common barberry, the sexual host of the fungus. The invasive strains were detected already in the first year of appearance in Europe, using innovative diagnostic and information technology tools, which enabled an early alarming and preparedness to face the challenges.

Rust and powdery mildew fungi have long distance migration capacity, resulting in the spread of invasive strains/races from one region to the other. Since 2011, the European population of yellow rust has been gradually replaced by new invasive strains. We have just completed a huge study involving 12 European countries based on rust samples collected over 15 years, where we analyzed the European results in a global context. The most economic and environmentally friendly solution will be to intensify the development of new crop varieties, which possess resistance to a wide array of plant pathogens and their variants. These results have just been published in the prestigious British journal ‘Plant Pathology’ (abstract), so we are extremely pleased that we can present these results at the 14th International Cereal Rusts and Powdery Mildews Conference 2015 in Helsingør, 5-8 July 2015, said Professor Mogens S. Hovmøller, Aarhus University, Denmark, chief organizer of the conference at Helsingør and leader of the Global Rust Reference Centre (GRRC), Denmark.

The early detection and responses was only possible due to long-term collaboration between Aarhus University in Denmark, the National Agricultural Research Institute (INRA) in France, the Julius Kühn Institute in Germany, the National Institute for Agricultural Botany in the United Kingdom, the International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre Mexico, the International Centre of Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, and the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan

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