A new initiative between the co-located John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory and The Genome Analysis Centre will see them working collaboratively to tackle rust fungi under the banner of the Norwich Rust Group (NRG).
Seven scientific teams are working on the fight against rust fungi which can cut crop yields by up to 80%. They aim to develop durable resistance in crops and will investigate how parasitic rust fungi invade and feed off plants. They will also use new techniques to locate genes in some varieties of crops which are able to resist invasion.
There are more than 7,000 species of rust fungi, some of which are among agriculture’s most devastating pathogens causing billions of pounds of losses every year worldwide, particularly on cereal crops.
However, while The Norwich Rust Group members will specifically focus on rust pathogens that infect agricultural crops such as wheat, barley and soybean, the research is likely to have benefits for vegetable crops including legumes, alliums and salad leaves.