New seeds are resistant to wheat stem rust (Ug99)
In 2009, Miriam Kinyua, a Kenyan plant breeder, sent 10 kilograms of five varieties of wheat seed to the FAO/IAEA laboratories in Seibersdorf, south of Vienna, where they were irradiated for mutation breeding.
These seeds were returned to Kenya where they were planted in a hot spot for the disease for screening and selection. Kinyua and her colleagues at the University of Eldoret’s Biotechnology Department identified eight lines resistant to Ug99. Four of these lines were submitted to Kenyan national performance trials, and two were officially approved as varieties by the national committee of the Ministry of Agriculture.
About six tonnes of seeds of the new varieties will be made available this month for the next planting season in Kenya.