Title: April 2011 Newsletter

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April 2011 BGRI E-Newsletter


From the BGRI Blog

Wheat Briefs

Upcoming Events

Recent Publications

People in the News

Online Resources

From the Field

Message from Ronnie Coffman, Vice Chair of the BGRI

Dear colleagues,

Wheat rust scientists, including molecular geneticists and pathologists, as well as wheat breeders and others with an interest in the three rusts of wheat—stem rust, yellow rust, and leaf rust—will be gathering in St. Paul, Minnesota, 13-16 June 2011, for the BGRI 2011 Technical Workshop. St. Paul is home to the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory (CDL) and the University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug’s alma mater and the place of Stakman’s classic work on stem rust.

The 2011 workshop will begin on Monday on the UMinn/St. Paul campus. Following the opening ceremony, meeting participants will join local and national dignitaries in a ceremonial breaking of ground for a new USDA USAID joint-funded glasshouse at the CDL. This glasshouse will greatly enhance the CDL’s race analysis services as part of the Global Cereal Rust Monitoring System. Day one of the conference will conclude with field day activities including a field tour, a historical perspective of Borlaug and Stakman’s work at the UMinn and a rust phenotyping and molecular analysis demonstration.

This year’s technical program is on par with the high standards of wheat and rust research conducted on the UMinn campus both in Borlaug’s day and today. The technical sessions will begin on day two of the conference—Tuesday, June 14th—with updates on the occurrence, movement, and control of the rust pathogens. This will be followed by a panel discussion on pathogen aggressiveness during which we encourage participation, through comments and questions, from the audience. The 2011 Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Awards will be announced, including four early career awards and the first WIT Mentor award. The day will conclude with an exciting session on rust pathogen effectors.

The plenary sessions will continue on Wednesday with BGRI researchers reporting on the latest discoveries in the area of molecular genetics of rust resistance followed by four talks that all shed light on the mechanism of host-pathogen interactions between the rust fungi and their cereal hosts. The day will end with two exciting talks on emerging tools for wheat geneticists.

The final day of the workshop will kick off with the latest rust resistance breeding efforts at international centers ICARDA and CIMMYT. A highlight of the day will be the first-ever competitive graduate student symposium. This year, three graduate student abstracts were selected for full presentations on a competitive review of the poster abstracts submitted. We look forward to hearing the exciting work being carried out by these “next-generation” wheat rust researchers.

The BGRI will only have impact if there is sufficient capacity to deliver seed to farmers. Five researchers from around the world will share success stories on capacity building and seed delivery. Finally, the workshop will end with a summary of the 2011 meeting by UMinn’s Ron Phillips followed by inspirational words by Ambassador Kenneth Quinn. After the close of the conference, join us for a dinner cruise down the world-famous Mississippi River as we digest the exciting research presented over the week, visit with old friends and make new connections.

Note that the North American Rust Workers meeting will take place in St. Paul on June 12, prior to the 2011 BGRI Technical Workshop. We are grateful to the University of Minnesota and the USDA Cereal Disease Lab for hosting the 2011 meeting. You can register for both at the website, athttp://guest.cvent.com/d/ydql2y/1Q.

See you in St. Paul!

Ronnie Coffman, Vice Chair
Borlaug Global Rust Initiative

From the BGRI Blog

Ian Dundas on Gene Sharing
The latest news on Ug99 is not good. Pathotypes virulent on Sr31, Sr24 and many other genes, have reached South Africa. Given the tendency for inter-continental west to east wind currents, Australia is now in the firing line of inoculum from South Africa for years to come. It’s game-on as far as we are concerned! Read more at http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/blog42: Guest Entry: Ian Dundas on responsible gene sharing
--Ian Dundas is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Adelaide. This blog post is adapted from an entry on the RustGenes electronic discussion list.

Wheat Briefs

Armed with US$40M, global research team to continue fight against Ug99
On 27 January 2011, the U.K’s Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced their joint investment of US$40 million in Phase II of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project. The DRRW is a global effort led by Cornell University to combat deadly strains of Ug99, the evolving wheat pathogen that poses a dangerous threat to global food security, particularly in the poorest nations of the developing world. Read more…

2010 BGRI workshop proceedings published in Euphytica
The May issue of Euphytica, devoted to the proceedings of the 2010 BGRI Technical Workshop, which was held in St Petersburg, Russia, is now online. Volume 179, Number 1 of the journal is available at http://www.springerlink.com/content/0014-2336/179/1/.

Robigus still among us
Two thousand years ago Roman wheat farmers were plagued by rusts. As was the case in many unexplained events that occurred at that time, the Romans created a god, Robigus, the rust god, who was honored in the Robigalia, a religious ceremony practiced for over 1700 years, which involved sacrificing reddish colored animals, such as dogs or cows so that the god would spare their grain. Read more at http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/bot135/lect08.htm
--George Wong, University of Hawaii, adapted from Carefoot, G.L. and E.R. Sprott. 1969. Famine on the Wind. Angus & Robertson Ltd., London.

Upcoming Events

9th Plant Genomics European Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey, May 4-7

1st Congress of Cereal Biotechnology and Breeding, May 24-27, Szeged, Hungary

North American Rust Workers annual meeting, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA June 12

National Agricultural Biotechnology Council conference, June 15-17 Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota, USA

2nd International Plant Phenotyping Conference, 5-7 September 2011, Jülich, Germany

2011 BGRI Technical Workshop, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, June 13-16
See also Letter from Ronnie Coffman in this issue.
http://globalrust.org/traction/permalink/about206: BGRI 2011 Technical Workshop

Recent Publications

Targeted Introgression of a Wheat Stem Rust Resistance Gene by DNA Marker-Assisted Chromosome Engineering.
Niu , Zhixia; Klindworth, Daryl L.; Friesen, Timothy L.; Chao, Shiaoman; Jin, Yue; Cai, Xiwen; Xu, Steven S.

Mapping and validation of QTL which confer partial resistance to broadly virulent post-2000 North American races of stripe rust in hexaploid wheat
Lowe,Iago; Jankuloski,Ljupcho; Chao,Shiaoman; Chen,Xianming; See,Deven; Dubcovsky,Jorge

http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/references1609: Mapping and validation of QTL which confer partial resistance to broadly virulent post-2000 North American races of stripe rust in hexaploid wheat (2011)

The application of DNA marker and doubled-haploid technology for stacking multiple stem rust resistance genes in wheatMago,Rohit; Lawrence,Gregory J.; Ellis,Jeffrey G.
http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/references1589: The application of DNA marker and doubled-haploid technology for stacking multiple stem rust resistance genes in wheat (2011)

A robust molecular marker for the detection of shortened introgressed segment carrying the stem rust resistance gene Sr22 in common wheat
Periyannan,Sambasivam K.; Bansal,Urmil K.; Bariana,Harbans S.; Pumphrey,Michael; Lagudah,Evans S.
http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/references919: A robust molecular marker for the detection of shortened introgressed segment carrying the stem rust resistance gene Sr22 in common wheat (2011)

People in the News

Mike Pumphrey helps lead global fight against pathogen
Washington State University spring wheat breeder Michael Pumphrey is a team leader in the $40 million, global effort to combat UG99.

Grains industry recognizes rust expert Colin Wellings
In February, Colin Wellings, one of the world’s leading authorities on cereal stripe rust, was recognized for his outstanding commitment and contribution to the Australian grains industry.

Happy Birthday, Norman Borlaug
On 25 March 2011, Norman Borlaug would have been 97 years old. A group of wheat scientists, policymakers, farmers and friends who were in Ciudad Obregon for the annual “visitor’s week,” 21-25 March, celebrated the event at the Norman E. Borlaug Experiment Station with a ceremony on Borlaug plaza.

Iowa honors Dr. Norman Borlaug with statue in U.S. Capitol
By an act of the Iowa state legislature in March 2011, Iowa will be represented in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall by a statue of Cresco, Iowa native Dr. Norman Borlaug, who is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution.


Online Resources

Race Analysis Training Video
A series of video modules that describe how to collect rust, isolate a single pustule of rust, increase rust, properly store spores, inoculate differentials, phenotype reactions, and race nomenclature as practiced by the Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota.
http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/Multimedia408: Race Analysis Training Videos

CIMMYT’s draft wheat strategy
In collaboration with other CGIAR centers involved in maize and wheat research, most prominentlyIITA and ICARDA, CIMMYT has developed new strategies – called the MAIZE and WHEAT CGIAR Programs – that describe how the world's maize and wheat research and development communities must work together for food security, providing maize and wheat at prices affordable to the poor and doing so in the face of rising demands and climate change, while protecting the environment.

The Cereal Rusts, Volumes I and II
The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative is pleased to present the digital version of the two-volume set, "The Cereal Rusts" edited by William Bushnell and A.P. Roelfs for download..

Ug99 Stem Rust: A Threat to Wheat Crops across the Globe
This is an informative two-minute video, intended for the general public, about Ug99 stem rust and the efforts to find resistant varieties of wheat.
http://globalrust.org/traction/permalink/Multimedia398: Ug99 - Short educational video for the general public or press
Also on youtube.com

BGRI website recognized for outstanding innovation
The Computerworld Honors Program recognizes individuals and organizations who create and use information technology to promote and advance public welfare, contribute to the greater good of society and change the world for the better. The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative received this honor in the collaboration category for its website globalrust.org. http://marketing.computerworld.com/Honors_ 2011_ PRE-Event_ Press_ Release_final.pdf

From the Field

South Asia surveillance training held in Nepal and Bangladesh
A team of wheat research scientists recently visited the national wheat research programs of Nepal and Bangladesh to participate in training workshops on the pathology and surveillance of the rust diseases of wheat. The workshops strongly emphasized the monitoring of stem rust due to the expected migration pattern of the Ug99 race to South Asia. Read more…
http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/newsroom445: South Asia surveillance training held in Nepal and Bangladesh
For more information about the workshops, see South Asia Surveillance training.pdf. See also the April 11 CIMMYT blog post

Research is winning the fight
Working under the grey clouds that signal the beginning of the long rains in East Africa, scientists and technicians scour rows and rows of wheat at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), hoping to identify new lines of resistance to sometimes deadly strains of stem rust, a wheat pathogen that can mutate rapidly during the short, off-season growing period. Some of the rust-resistant genes they find will be bred into wheat varieties to be tested during the main growing season, just before the onset of the short rains in mid-October. Read more…
http://www.globalrust.org/traction/permalink/newsroom446: Research is winning the fight

BGRI Communications and IT Partnership
The first-ever BGRI Communications and IT Workshop was held at the FAO, in Rome, Italy, 31 Jan-2 Feb 2011. Participants focused on streamlining online wheat resources and databases, and developing strategic partnerships to address communication needs that would amplify media attention to food security and other global problems associated with the spread of wheat rust.

Wheat Meeting in India Focuses on Climate Change
The 3rd International Group Meeting (IGM) on Wheat Productivity Enhancement Under Changing Climate was held at the University of Agricultural Sciences, in Dharwad, India, 9-12 February 2011. The IGM addressed some of the agricultural issues related to wheat production brought about by climate change, i.e., the effects of depletion of ground water, increased temperatures, and carbon dioxide concentration. Participants focused on breeding strategies for enhancing productivity and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, biotechnology and genomics, resource optimization, value addition and quality improvement, and the impact of climate change on sustainable production.

Scientists warn of growing rust threat at ICARDA conference
More than 100 scientists and policymakers from 31 countries met at the International Wheat Stripe Rust Symposium 18-20 April, at ICARDA, in Aleppo, Syria. Participants focused on strengthening nations’ responses to the stripe rust epidemic that is affecting up to 40% of some farmers’ yields, especially in Northern Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucuses. Read more…

Rust Spore Update: Stem rust widespread in the highlands and west of Yemen
Wheat rust surveys undertaken by AREA, Yemen in the key wheat growing areas of the country during October 2010 to March 2011 revealed stem rust to be widespread in the highlands and western areas, but absent in the eastern regions around Seiyun. (Read more and see the 2010 stem rust severity map at Rust Spore.)

Gender integration workshop held at ICARDA
ICARDA held a five-day training in March to integrate gender issues into research. The workshop was organized by the Water and Livelihood Initiative and was attended by representatives from NARS teams from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. The training highlighted the importance of recognizing the role and contribution of women towards the household, challenging common myths and misperception about the role of men and women in rural agriculture, and encouraging participants to look beyond the closed household model. Read more…

Editor’s Notes

The Borlaug Global Rust Inititative facilitates the evolution of a sustainable international system to contain the threat of wheat rusts and enhance wheat productivity to withstand future global threats to wheat. Any person or institution with an interest or stake in wheat rust research and development is welcome to be a member of the BGRI – just send a message to BGRI@cornell.edu indicating your interest, and you will be added to our email distribution list. For more information about the BGRI, wheat rust projects, and “who’s who” in the wheat rust world, visit the BGRI websitehttp://globalrust.org.

This quarterly newsletter is edited by Cally Arthur and sent to members of the BGRI. Suggestions on format and content are always welcome by the editor, at BGRI@cornell.edu orcallyarthur@cornell.edu

BGRI members are encouraged contribute to the newsletter. Submissions may be about technical communications on wheat breeding and rust pathology issues,; announcements of meetings, courses and electronic conferences; book announcements and reviews; websites of special relevance to wheat and the rusts; announcements of funding opportunities; requests to other readers for information and collaboration; and feature articles or discussion issues brought by subscribers.

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