The St. Paul laboratory also plays a leading role in ARS' research program to discover new genetic resistance to stem rust and other rusts and incorporate those genes into new wheat breeding material. The new greenhouse will help speed the hunt for these vital resistance genes.

ARS is coordinating the evaluation of wheat lines from U.S. wheat breeders—both public and private—for resistance to Ug99 in Africa. Since 2005, more than 14,000 lines from 28 universities, 11 companies and 8 ARS laboratories have been tested in Kenya. These efforts link closely with USAID's support of international wheat research programs that develop resistant varieties of wheat adapted to the needs of farmers in at-risk regions such as East Africa and South Asia.

ARS also is distributing wheat breeding lines, which have already proven their ability to stand up to Ug99 in cooperative test nurseries in Kenya and Ethiopia, to wheat breeders and geneticists in 34 countries around the world.

Today's groundbreaking is part of a four-day research conference that has drawn 400 of the world's top wheat and barley experts to the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. The conference is sponsored by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, which was created with the support of the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate and University of Minnesota alumnus Norman Borlaug. The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative has led to international cooperation between ARS researchers and more than 40 other institutions and countries since 2005.

For more information, see www.feedthefuture.gov or www.ars.usda.gov/Ug99/.