Wheat stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, is historically one of the most damaging diseases of wheat.
Guotai works on cloning stem rust resistance genes from wheat wild relatives using positional cloning and newly developed state-of-the-art technology that combines genetic, genomic, and artificial mutation.
The goal is to clone multiple genes, combine them in a cassette, and then transform it into wheat for durable stem rust resistance to multiple races of the pathogen. This avoids linkage drag, allows allelic resistance genes to be combined, and ensures they stay together in local breeding programmes thus avoiding single gene again being exposed to the pathogen.
Guotai is also interested in the gene-for-gene relationships between stem rust resistance gene and the pathogen avr genes.