II Workshop on surveillance of race Ug99 in South America and breeding wheat for resistance
From October 8 to 15, 2014, Dr. Charles Barnes attended the "Second Workshop on surveillance of race Ug99 in South America and wheat breeding for resistance", which was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. After the conference he visited the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, the Wheat Research Unit of EMBRAPA, and attended a field trip to search for Berberis plants. Approximately 75 attendees from 11 countries attended this event.
Dr. Charles Barnes and Dr. Tom Fetch (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) discuss new ways of sharing research data to combat and control Berberis.
The conference focused on the detection and tracking of new races of rusts that can infect almost all the wheat grown in the world today. These new races were detected for the first time in East Africa in 1999 and have been spreading and evolving. New races have now been reported throughout the Middle East and parts of Europe.
It is believed that the new races appeared after sexual recombination of the fungus in the alternate host Berberis. There are a few species of Berberis in East Africa, but the greatest diversity exists in Asia and South America. Ecuador alone has 25 to 30 endemic species of Berberis.
On the first day of the conference Dr. Charles Barnes presented a talk entitled "Molecular identification and interrelationship of barberry species". Barberry is the common name for Berberis. During the field trip, where scientists observed rusts infecting Berberis and native grasses, he gave a demonstration on how to identify Berberis. When visiting EMBRAPA, Dr. Barnes observed several interesting techniques for isolating and infecting the cereal rusts that he can use in UDLA. Finally, throughout the conference and meetings, scientists made plans on how they are going to organize their data and collaborate as a team.
There are clear differences between the countries in northern South America and the Southern Cone. The amount of wheat grown in the Southern Cone is much higher than in the north, and the diseases are different. Puccinia triticina is the most common problem of wheat in the south, while the main disease in the north is P. striiformis. While P. triticina is present in Ecuador, it is relatively rare. Therefore, collaborations may be restricted to rare disease events, such as P. triticina in Ecuador, or in areas along the Andes, where both host Berberis and the wheat diseases are more similar. However, I will continue to be involved in the identification of Berberis throughout South America.
Presentations are available at: http://bit.ly/1t2sEjU