Monday, July 19, 2010

A bit of good news on the stem rust front

Remember Ug99, the scary-as-heck fungus that threatens the world's wheat crops? Well, Indian scientists appear to have found strains of wheat that are resistant:
A wheat-killing fungal disease, which is being called ‘agriculture’s polio’, is racing like swine flu towards Asia from Africa, crippling food baskets in seven countries. India, also at risk, has got a global breakthrough with its first line of defence — 20 varieties that can fight an attack.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Ug99 fungus is on a “wind-borne trip around the globe” and poses a “genuine risk” to global food security and could push millions into hunger.

Indian farm scientists have confirmed locating “genetic sources” that can potentially resist Ug99. These varieties, internationally endorsed, will allow a coalition of at-risk countries to fight the disease better.

“This is an internationally-accepted breakthrough.” Swapan K Dutta, head of crop sciences at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research told HT.


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