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Wheat Blast: danger on the move

Christian Cruz: Purdue University

<div>Wheat blast, caused by <em>Magnaporthe oryzae Triticum</em> pathotype (MoT), has caused widespread losses in Brazil and Bolivia. The recent wheat blast outbreak in Bangladesh demonstrates the threat of global spread of this intractable and dangerous disease. Few resistance genes have been identified and fungicides have shown limited efficacy. A complete understanding of MoT ecology and wheat blast epidemiology is needed to develop more effective management strategies. Understanding the full potential for pathogen variability, including the role of sexual reproduction in the field, is critical. A small number of pathogen avirulence (AVR) genes block other host-adapted <em>M. oryzae</em> pathotypes from infecting wheat; potential AVR gene mutations leading to new host jumps remain a threat. The current status of wheat blast research and disease control strategies indicating similarities and differences to rice blast and gray leaf spot of ryegrass will be discussed. Critical knowledge gaps in wheat blast epidemiology and disease management are identified.</div>

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