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New “Super Wheat” May Save the Globe’s Most Vital Food Crop

New “Super Wheat” May Save the Globe’s Most Vital Food Crop

The Associated Press reports that after five years of intense research, scientists are now on the brink of identifying a new strain of “super wheat” able to withstand the current epidemic of wheat stem rust (a virulent fungus known as UG99) that has been threatening to destroy up to 90% of the world’s most vital food crop.

In a recent press release, the Borlaug Global Wheat Rust Initiative announced the development of wheat that will resist the dangerous UG99 pathogen, while boosting wheat crop yields by as much as 15 percent. An epidemic of wheat decay caused by UG99 is currently spreading across Africa, Asia and most recently into the Middle East, causing major concern and an increase of food riots. NPR reports:

“The fungus has now spread across all of eastern and southern Africa, and it might just be a matter of time before it reaches India or Pakistan, and even Australia and the Americas.

While this most recent plague of wheat stem rust surfaced in 1998, the fungus is rooted in an ancient one that has been threatening the world’s wheat for eons. The last known outbreak, in 1953, was stemmed by the the ground-breaking research of “green revolution” plant pathologist, Norman Borlaug, who developed a resistant wheat strain in 1970 — a feat which earned him the Nobel Prize for Peace that year.

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative will present its findings on the new varieties of “super wheat” at a conference to be held at the University of Minnesota next week.

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Rediscovered Wheat Seeds Resist Climate Change

Texas Wildfires Threaten Wheat Crop, Drive Food Prices Higher

 

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Photo credit: dreamstime

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87 comments

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2:33PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

This is a very bad idea, just wait and see. I sure as heck wouldn't tip my hat to the "Green Revolution" because it's been far more harmful than helpful.

3:50AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

New GM??

2:09PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Anyway, I think rice is the most vital food crop. I don't think it's wheat.

2:15PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

GM sounds like.

11:04AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

a nice way of saying GM?

9:08AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

hope something good comes out of this.

7:08AM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

At the conference in progress, will they disclose how they've made this wheat resistant to UG99?

5:26PM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Great advice. Thanks.

11:17AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

ty

11:00AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

Does anyone know how the tampering of wheat, in this case, what mutations will come of it? And== what mutations will spin off good or badly horrible in our bodies? This is an unknown, they can't tell us that. While it sounds good, one must wonder where all this will lead to and has lead to or become. We are what we eat. I read about montasanto all late and wrong with the cell induced bacteria and viruses. How many others have done this? Now when i hear of e-coli food outbreaks I think of the self induction of e-coli in this food tampering at the cellular level. I think of the movie the making of frankenstein, the lab experiement. What a mess. I notice when corps want to clean up national perceptions; they put out half-truths and sign off on them like" see how wrong you are, this is the real truth and why". Ex; I saw a much publicized documentary about pres Kennedy being a non conspiracy and why. They took you frame by frame and stopped short of the head wound and said see no conspiracy. About hitler; today i saw where Hitler/they did all theses things but they didn''t win cause he is dead, and we won. They left out the fact of hitler/they the sequel and the part our gov played in that. So we get the hoodwink of how wonderful a thing is but is it really? It may have started with good intentions but what really became of it? Did it meet it's purpose for good? Level with us.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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