This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
Plant diseases can easily cross international borders and damage crops in neighboring countries. The good news is that in Pakistan, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are working toward a solution.
David Marshall, a research leader at the USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been collaborating with Pakistani scientists in recent years to prevent losses there from wheat rust diseases including Ug99, a fungal disease that threatens wheat production worldwide. Ug99, which was first reported in Uganda in 1999, has not yet been detected in Pakistan (or in the United States). But it is transmitted by wind-blown spores and has been detected in neighboring Iran. It is widely expected to reach Pakistan in the near future.