Race-specific resistance genes represent essential genetic sources in crop breeding. Map-based cloning of the wheat Stb6 gene against Zymoseptoria tritici identified a wall-associated receptor kinase-like protein as a novel player in race-specific disease resistance.
Fungal pathogens result in serious economic losses in crop production. Zymoseptoria tritici causes Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in wheat and is one of the most devastating and adaptive fungal pathogens in temperate climate regions (Fig. 1). So far, none of the 21 genetically defined major STB resistance genes has been molecularly isolated. Reporting in Nature Genetics, Saintenac and colleagues now describe the molecular identification of the first STB resistance gene Stb6, through map-based cloning, and show that it encodes a wall-associated receptor kinase (WAK)-like protein1.