A team of researchers from Purdue University, including 2009 World Food Prize laureate Gebisa Ejeta have made a discovery that brings them closer to developing the Superman of sorghum plants.
The newly discovered gene, called Anthracnose Resistance Gene1, or ARG1, confers broad protection from the fungal diseases anthracnose, rust, and target spot. Tesfaye Mengiste, a professor and interim head of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology said it is remarkable that a single gene leads to resistance across a broad spectrum of fungi and multiple strains of the anthracnose fungus.
"The importance of this work cannot be overestimated," said Ejeta, a distinguished professor of agronomy at Purdue and executive director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security. He added that the gene discovery is a significant scientific breakthrough and a culmination of decades of collaborative sorghum improvement research at Purdue along with partners in developing countries.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)

Tesfaye Mengiste, professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University, looks at sorghum infected with anthracnose. Mengiste led a team of researchers that identified a single gene that confers broad resistance to the fungal disease. Photo Credit: Purdue University/Tom Campbell