The new stem rust strain, Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici — Ug99, has been a rising threat since the alarm was rung in Uganda in 1998. The genetic and breeding dimensions of research against this disease include the development of vigorous molecular markers, the identification and introgression of multiple resistance genes, the translocation of alien chromosomes, the enrichment of breeding lines with crossability alleles and the development of interspecific hybrids. Resistance genes have been identified in the primary wheat gene pool and in alien sources such as Aegilops spp., Dasypyrum villosum, Secale cereale, Hordeum vulgare and Oryza spp. and some of these sources have been used to confer resistance as a function of single or multiple gene effects. Realizing the potential disaster if Ug99 and related variants break out in other regions, wheat-producing countries are characterizing their germplasm and improving their stem rust race tracking systems. Equally important is “appropriate genetic management”, i.e. the use of currently effective resistance genes in such a way that the evolution and adaptation of new virulence will be deterred. This review will summarize the recent research advances and future perspectives in setting effective genetic barriers vis-à-vis the seemingly intractable spread and evolution of Ug99.
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