Wheat is a major staple cereal for 40% of the world’s population and is important for food security, especially in less developed countries, which harvest 50% of global wheat production.
Sustainable wheat production coupled with effective wheat disease control measures will undoubtedly contribute to food security worldwide.
Carol’s research aims to elucidate the function of putative wheat genes during wheat infection by the biotrophic fungal pathogen Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), a causative agent of the yellow rust (YR) disease, which destroys a significant proportion of cultivated wheat worldwide.
Previous work (based on RNA sequencing) in the Saunders Laboratory identified candidate wheat genes that are involved in enhancing or restricting Pst infection.
By understanding the function of these genes, the group may be able to unravel the molecular mechanisms driving host adaptation of YR on wheat, which may contribute to the development of new forms of resistance in wheat crops.