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Kan., Calif. researchers help combat wheat rust

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- A scientific breakthrough could help fight a deadly wheat pathogen that's causing significant crop losses.

Researchers from Kansas State University and the University of California-Davis have identified a gene that gives wheat plants resistance to one of the most deadly strains of the wheat stem rust pathogen.

The rust strain first was identified in Uganda in 1999 and is spreading from Africa to the breadbaskets of Asia.

Kansas State said in a news release that the hope is scientists will use the research to develop new wheat varieties.

The findings from the Kansas and California researchers have been published in the journal Science alongside a study from an Australian group that identified another promising gene.