Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Sharon solution

"A native Israeli wheat species is the likely botanic "antidote" to a new fungus strain that threatens 70 percent of the world's wheat crops and is relentlessly moving north from Africa.

It is already in Yemen and if prediction models are correct, the fungus may enter Israel soon.

Sharon goatgrass (Aegilops sharonensis), which grows on Israel's coastal plain and a few places in Lebanon and is a distant relative of cultivated bread wheat, is highly resistant to the fungus, called Ug99."

for more info on Ug99, see previous posts. search the blog under "rust".

The plant is native to the Levant, the center of origin of wheat. I expect the genes to be incorporated within the next 5 years. The issue will be who will own the patent of the new rust-proof varieties. What are the international centers (ICARDA) and the FAO doing?

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