Texas AgriLife Research scientists have discovered a resistance gene to one of the most plaguing wheat viruses today. Studying a Colorado wheat variety, scientists identified the gene providing resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus.
The virus is one of the most common wheat viruses found in the 75 million acres of wheat in the US. Wheat curl mite is the vector of this plaguing virus; no chemicals are labeled to control the mite, making gene resistance to the virus a significant discovery.
The research included study of Kansas wheat variety RonL, Nebraska variety Mace as well as TAM 11 and TAM 112. Dr. Jackie Rudd, wheat breeder of the AgriLife Research team, said wheat has 21 pairs of chromosomes and one of those has potential resistant to wheat streak mosaic virus. The Wsm2 gene as it will now be called, offers scientists the potential to develop resistant wheat varieties much quicker through accelerated breeding and increased resistance levels.