Gates donates $26.8 million to fight wheat disease

by Eric Schroeder
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ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University announced it has received a $26.8 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help combat Ug99, a virulent form of wheat rust first discovered in Uganda in 1999. The grant will be used to create the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project, a partnership that will bring together 15 partner institutions focused on developing improved rust-resistant wheat varieties to protect resource-poor farmers and consumers from devastating crop losses. "Farmers need access to wheat varieties that can resist the new type of wheat stem rust, especially in developing nations where reliance on wheat is high and budgets for fungicides almost non-existent," said Ronnie Coffman, director of international programs at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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