Combating wheat stem rust in Africa

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Stem rust race Ug99 can be so devastating that wheat heads do not fill grain; no yields are expected from such a crop

A new strain of wheat rust – known as Ug99 – is decimating African wheat fields.

Ug99 was first detected in Eastern Africa in 1998 and has since spread around the continent but help could be at hand in the form of nuclear science.

The Joint Division of the IAEA and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has brought together experts from around the world to develop Ug99 resistant wheat varieties by using radiation to induce mutations in plants.

So far ten so-called wheat "mutants" have been identified that show resistance to Ug99.

The IAEA's Louise Potterton spoke to Kenyan plant breeder, Miriam Kinyua, Associate Professor of Biotechnology at Moi University in Eldoret.

Duration: 4'57"

Filed under Today's Features.
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