Putting Ug99 on the map: An update on current and future monitoring
Detection of stem rust race TTKSK (Ug99) from Uganda in 1998/99 highlighted not only the extremely high vulnerability of the global wheat crop to stem rust but also a lack of adequate global systems to monitor such a threat. Progress in the development and expansion of the Global Cereal Rust Monitoring System (GCRMS) is described. The current situation regarding the Ug99 lineage of races is outlined and the potential for expansion into important wheat areas is considered. The GCRMS has successfully tracked the spread and changes that are occurring within the Ug99 lineage and is now well positioned to detect and monitor future changes. The distribution of Ug99 variants possessing combined virulence to Sr31 and Sr24 is expanding rapidly and future spread outside of Africa is highly likely. Efficient and effective data management is now being achieved via the Wheat Rust Toolbox platform, with an expanding range of dynamic information products being delivered to endusers. Application of new technologies may increase the efficiency of the GCRMS, with mobile devices, molecular diagnostics and remote sensing all seen to have potential application in the medium to longterm. Expansion of the global capacity for race analysis is seen to be critical and integration of the Global Rust Reference Centre into the stem rust monitoring network is seen as a positive development. The current acute situation with severe epidemics of stripe rust in many countries indicates a clear need for more effective global monitoring systems and early warning for this pathogen. The existing GCRMS for stem rust is seen as a good foundation for this to occur.