The problem? The same way that bacteria are learning new ways to overcome antibiotics, thereby threatening to send medicine back to the leech 'n chop days, wheat rust too is learning to overcome.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Really good for wheat rust's character arc; less good for sandwich enthusiasts.
Back in 1999, Uganda experienced the first outbreak of a new strain of stem rust. Designated Ug99 for the year it was discovered, this harmless-looking red fuzz can decimate a crop in short order. And researchers have determined that nearly all wheat strains in the world are susceptible to it.
If you're thinking that this is happening way over in Uganda and therefore you needn't be the least concerned about it, then first of all: Hello, fellow American! And second of all, since its discovery, Ug99 has spread to almost a dozen countries and shows no signs of slowing. A single hectare of Ug99-infected wheat can release more than 10 billion spores, and it would take only a single spore hitching a ride on a single human to spread this to the United States and transform our amber waves of grain into red wastelands. And that's when you'll discover that when a loaf of bread is worth its weight in gold, everybody is gluten-free.
Iryna Melnyk/iStock/Getty Images
So get used to bullshit millet bread and/or starvation.