Using state-of-the-art genomics techniques, a team of scientists from the Agricultural Research Service, Iowa State University and Brazil has identified a cluster of soybean genes that provide resistance to the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, which causes Asian soybean rust (ASR). The discovery will help defend the $27 billion U.S. soybean crop against ASR, through conventional breeding or biotechnological means.
ASR was first detected in the continental United States in 2004. Although fungicide use is effective against ASR, providing farmers with resistant cultivars is more sustainable, according to geneticist Michelle Graham. She's with the ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Ames, Iowa.
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