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Mysterious virus is killing wheat fields throughout western Kansas.

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posted on Jun, 4 2004 @ 04:27 PM
Agricultural scientists are scratching their heads because they don't know how this virus started or where it came from plant pathologists and virologists from the US and Canada are trying to identify the protein that causes the virus and how the pathogen works.

Mysterious virus appears in wheat fields throughout western Kansas
"We're pretty sure it's a virus," said wheat breeder Joe Martin, who works at the Kansas State University research station at Hays. "It showed up early and, at first glance, we thought it was streak mosaic. But it's not. It kills the oldest leaves of the plant and finally kills the head."

Researchers don't know what the virus is, where it came from, or how it spreads.

Martin said he's seen evidence of the virus in almost every field he's checked in western Kansas, but it hasn't taken over the crop. He encouraged farmers to be on the lookout when checking their fields.

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