The growing threat of stripe rust worldwide
Stripe rust of wheat (yellow rust) is a recurring production constraint in the majority of wheat growing areas of the world. The transboundary nature of the pathogen coupled with its current virulence capabilities, favorable environmental conditions, sometimes overlapping and/or continuous cultivation of susceptible varieties in stripe rust-prone zones, and genetic uniformity of certain recent ‘mega-cultivars’ were major driving forces in stripe rust epidemics worldwide. Breeding for resistance must continue be the central pillar of stripe rust control, and for this to be effective there must be adequate pathogen monitoring combined with commitment to identify and incorporate diverse sources of resistance, preferably of the durable type. Deployment of resistance will only be successful if it is combined with high yield and appropriate end-use quality to meet the needs of farmers and consumers. Suitable seed systems need to be in place for timely distribution of varieties. This paper deals with the historical impacts and current status of stripe rust epidemics and highlights the need for regional and global collaboration in mitigating the global impact of this disease.