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Scientists learn stem rust screening skills

Scientists from over 20 countries, many of whom are collaborators with the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), gathered in Kenya on 28 September for a two week international training course titled “Stem Rust Note Taking and Evaluation of Germplasm.” Until 7 October, they will participate in practical handson field activities, which is appropriate as more than 30,000 wheat lines from around the world are currently ready  to be scored for stem rust resistance.

The Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is hosting the event at their Njoro research station, despite being affected by recent dry weather. In addition to field work, there are several scheduled lectures from renowned wheat pathologists and breeders: Bob McIntosh (Australia), Zac Pretorius (South Africa), Gordon Cisar (USA), Harbans Bariana (Australia), Brian Steffenson (USA), Kumarse Nazari (ICARDA), Dave Hodson (FAO), and CIMMYT colleagues Ravi Singh, Davinder Singh, Shridhar Bhavani, Yann Manes, Tadesse Degu, and Karim Ammar.

By the end of the course all participants should be able to score stem rust consistent with an international scale standard. This skill will allow them to actively contribute to the global monitoring of the stem rust Ug99. CIMMYT, the Durable Rust Resistant Wheat Project, KARI, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) jointly organized the training course.