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Is a Wheat Emergency on the Way?

It's bad enough that we have a missing bee mystery, as well as a major coral die off (which affects the fish population). Now it turns out we also have a mysterious wheat blight.

In New Scientist, Debora Mackenzie quotes Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, who is known as the father of the Green Revolution, as saying, "This thing has immense potential for social and human destruction" because wheat feeds more people on earth than any other plant.

This new blight is called Ug99 and is a newly-evolved version of the familiar wheat rust that farmers finally thought they had conquered, when rust-resistant strains of wheat were created in the 1960s. But Ug99 has learned how to invade rust-resistant wheat. This new strain of the disease was first discovered in Uganda eight years ago and its spores have been gradually spreading across east Africa, into Yemen and Sudan. Scientists who are tracking it say that the spores will eventually blow into Egypt, Turkey, the Middle East and India. It?s only a matter of time until the fungus ends up in Europe and the Americas, but scientists are racing the crop, trying to create new wheat varieties that are resistant to Ug99. Whitley and Linda Howe discuss this on this week's Dreamland, and Linda will soon have a report on this subject.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

It would take an oracle to predict our future?and Whitley actually met one. Join us for a swashbuckling adventure this weekend on Dreamland!

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