Scientists battling the spread of new virulent wheat rust races now have a new tool attheir disposal. CIMMYT and partners on the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project have just launched a new Global Wheat Rust Monitoring website - RustTracker.org. (http://rusttracker.cimmyt.org/)
RustTracker.org provides up to date information on the status of wheat rust diseases worldwide. The dynamic, content rich site provides a single source of information for all global wheat rust monitoring activities. The data content and tools of RustTracker.org are unique, nowhere else can such rich content about the actual status of major crop pathogens be found.
RustTracker.org is directly linked to a state of the art data management system - the Wheat Rust Toolbox, developed by collaborators at Aarhus University - this drives a range of interactive visualization tools. Users can pull up dynamic survey maps or graph race frequency changes over time at the click of a button. Data from 37 countries is currently included in the system, but expansion is likely. For each country, up to date rust information and tools are available. Wheat rusts are global travellers, not respecting any political boundaries, so effective control often depends on advanced knowledge of important changes in distant regions. Wheat scientists, particularly in developing countries, now have instant access to the status of rusts not only in their own country, but in neighbouring countries and across continents. Sharing knowledge in this way should improve preparedness and control of new virulent rust races.
Initial development of RustTracker.org has focused on stem rust and the "Ug99" race group in particular. Current content reflects these efforts, but in the near future expanded content forboth stripe and leaf rust will be included.