Characterisation of rice blast races present in Australia

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Rice blast caused by the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae is the most serious disease threat to rice production worldwide. To date, rice blast occurs in northern Australia, including northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia, but remains exotic to south-eastern Australia where most of the Australian rice is produced. The establishment of new production areas in northern Australia for the rice industry, and the potential for rice blast to threaten the industry in south-eastern Australia, make rice blast a big concern to rice research and development in Australia. 
Developing rice blast resistance varieties to prevailing races is critical to the survival of the rice industry in Australia, including the areas currently free of this disease. This report provides the first knowledge about races of rice blast occurring in northern Australia, and highlights a high level of virulence variability among Australian rice blast isolates.

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