Area researchers claim to find resistant to wheat virus

Published: Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:11 PM CDT
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Amarillo, TX - Research being done here in the Panhandle by Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center could have an affect on the price you pay for a loaf of bread.

There is a virus affecting the wheat production in the Panhandle, but some local researchers think they may have found a way to make it more resistant.

It's a virus you may not of heard of, but it's affecting our area's production of wheat.

"One of the primary diseases we have around here is Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus is transmitted by the Wheat Curl Mite," said Jackie Rudd who is a Professor with Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center.

The virus is especially damaging right now due to the drought, because it affects the root system.

"The root system got damaged, so (it) reduce(s) the water use for the plants, that's the reason the yield (is reduced) and also the end use quality," Dr. Shuyu Liu who is a Wheat Geneticist with Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center said.

So Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center claim to have found the genetic marker which will allow them to make the wheat resistant to the disease and the drought.

"The disease resistance just means the farmer is going to get higher yield out of that, and not lose as much," said Rudd.

The virus has the capability to cause a farmer to lose almost 50 percent of their crop.

But with the resistant gene this should mean higher yields and a positive outcome for consumers at the grocery store.

"The more yields that we get from that, just really does mean less cost at the grocery store," Rudd said.

The local experts we spoke with tells us this  means a loaf of bread will not only cost less, but since the wheat will be healthier due to it's resistance it will be better quality.