Biotic stress tolerance and resistance

Published on July 1, 2014   38 min

Other Talks in the Series: Agricultural Genetics

Hello. My name is Professor Robert Park. I work at the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute where I hold the Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture. I'm also the director of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program. Today I'm going to talk to you about biotic stress tolerance and resistance plants.
Today's lecture will cover, firstly, the importance of plant diseases, secondly, options for disease control, and thirdly, I will discuss the genetic control of plant pathogens. In this section, I will cover the terminology that we use in host pathogen interactions. For example, what is resistance and what its pathogenicity? I will also discuss the gene-for-gene hypothesis which is the foundation of almost all the work we do in resistance breeding. And then finally, I want to spend a little bit of time and talk to you about the wheat rust diseases and resistance breeding. This is an area that I've worked in for the past 30 years.
Plants are the basis of all life on earth. We as humans need clean air, water, food, shelter, and fuel. All of these things have been provided to us at one point in time or another by plants. Plant diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and nematodes. And globally, these diseases have been estimated to reduce plant production by about 30%. In thinking about plant disease, it is important to remember that the organisms that cause these diseases have co-evolved with their hosts in resilient natural ecosystems. We as humans have domesticated many plants and this, in turn, has placed huge selection pressure on pathogen populations. As a consequence of that, agriculture has had to deal with resilient mutable pathogens that can change and undo the hard work of breeders.