Lack of sequence information makes harnessing the diversity of disease resistance (R) genes in wild crops highly challenging. Arora and Steuernagel et al. report AgRenSeq, a reference genome-free technique, for rapid cloning of nucleotide binding/Leucine-rich repeat (NLR) resistance genes from wild crops. Using R gene enrichment sequencing, the authors captured thousands of NLR-specific contigs from 151 distinct accessions of Aegilops taushii, a wild relative of bread wheat. Based on k-mer based association mapping, they identified four wheat stem rust resistance genes from the captured contigs. AgRenSeq thus provides a powerful technique for discovering rare, uncharacterized R genes from genetically diverse accessions of any crop and improving disease resistance in its domesticated counterparts. (Summary by Saima Shahid) Nature Biotech. 10.1038/s41587-018-0007-9.