The importance for food security of maintaining rust resistance in wheat
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- Chaves, M.S., Martinelli, J.A., Wesp-Guterres, C. et al. Food Sec. (2013) 5: 157. doi:10.1007/s12571-013-0248-x
Wheat is one of the main sources of calories and protein of the world’s population and therefore the pathogens that cause rust diseases of the crop are a real threat to food security. Besides the continuous evolution of rust pathogens which repeatedly results in overcoming the resistance of commercial varieties throughout the world, plant breeders are also now challenged by the impacts of global climatic changes. Agricultural practices will need to keep pace with the intensification of sustainable food production in order to face the challenge of feeding a world population estimated to reach about nine billion by 2050. Contemporary wheat breeding has increasingly focused on the future, culminating in the emergence of a global partnership for breeding new wheat varieties with resistance to rust pathogens. Plant breeding now employs a wide range of both long-established and frontier technologies aimed at achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of ending hunger and extreme poverty (MDG1), while concurrently promoting environmental sustainability (MDG7) through global partnerships for development (MDG8).