Source: Agricultural Research Service

The DNA of a plant typically considered a noxious weed — wild oat — is being studied to determine if it can help combat crown rust, a devastating disease of oats.

Crown rust reduces oat yields up to 40 percent and shows a remarkable ability to adapt to varieties bred to genetically resist it. ARS researchers and colleagues have inserted individual resistance genes into oat varieties that produce proteins believed to recognize strains of crown rust and trigger a defense response against them. "Multiline" cultivars with several resistance genes also have been developed.

Original press release