Israeli innovation in study of wheat genome wins award

The Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) award was given to Dr. Valentina Klymiuk from the University of Haifa for her discovery of a unique gene in wild emmer wheat.

March 24, 2019 20:00
1 minute read.
Israeli innovation in study of wheat genome wins award

Dr. Valentina Klymiuk. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Dr. Valentina Klymiuk of the University of Haifa was awarded the Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) award on March 20 for her discovery of the novel conferring resistance to wheat yellow rust. The University of Haifa reported in a press release.

The award promotes women leadership in science.

Wheat in a field / Courtesy

“Wheat genome is five times larger than that of humans,” Professor Tzion Fahima who oversaw the work done by Dr. Klymiuk told the Jerusalem Post in an interview, “in the case of pre-agriculture wheat it’s four time as large.”

The Yr15 gene Klymiuk discovered grants immunity from wheat yellow rust, helping to prevent famine around the world.

“This award will help me develop my scientific carrer,” Klymiuk said in a press release. She vowed to keep up with her research resistence genes and create crop varieties that will be protected from diseases.

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) is an international consortium of over 1,000 scientists from hundreds of institutions. The award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, daughter of Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug.

Originally from Ukraine, Klymiuk worked under Fahima and under Professor Abraham Korol as part of her doctoral studies at the University of Haifa.

Other winners include Sanu Arora and Jyoti Saini Sharma from India, Sabina Asghar from Pakistan, Carolina Rivera from Mexico and Fikrte Yirga Belayineh from Ethiopia. 

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