Stephen Goodwins wheat research may lead to a reduction in the amount of grain lost to leaf blotch. Goodwin is an associate professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University. (Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)
Bread wheat plants carrying a newly discovered gene that is resistant to economically devastating leaf blotch can reduce the amount of grain lost to the pathogen, according to Purdue University researchers.
The scientists used bread wheat species to find the gene and the markers, or bits of DNA, that indicate presence of the naturally occurring gene. The fungus causes wheat crop damage worldwide with yield losses of 50 percent or more in some places. In the United States the disease is widespread in the Pacific Northwest, the northern Great Plains and the eastern Midwest soft wheat region, and experts estimate annual losses at $275 million.
Results of the Purdue study on resistance to the fungus that causes Septoria tritici leaf blotch are published in the September issue of Phytopathology and appear on the journal’s Web site.
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