Wheat is a staple crop across most of the developing world and globally provides about 20 per cent of the calories and proteins consumed by humans each day. Wheat production needs to increase dramatically in coming years to meet the needs of a rapidly growing world population, but disease is a continuing threat to current and future yields.
One of wheats worst enemies is wheat yellow rust, a disease responsible for yield losses of up to 70 percent or complete crop loss if the disease occurs early in the growing season. However, despite the threat posed by wheat yellow rust, to date the biology of the fungus, its global population structure and the mechanisms that drive the pathogens evolution and adaptation are poorly understood compared with other important plant pests. We have teamed up with scientists, breeders, agronomists and ag-chem companies to develop a better understanding of this important pathogen.