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Gene hunters tackle crop diseases
Date:12/10/2010

>"A major focus of our research is sustainable agriculture," said John Innes Centre director Professor Dale Sanders.

"We need to help breeders and farmers generate good quality food and other agricultural products in an environmentally sustainable way. One way of doing so will be to develop crops that are resistant to pathogens and pests. Such crops will reduce the need to spray pesticides and fungicides and they will give better yields, as less will be lost to disease."

The genomes of the parasites have been sequenced in separate research collaborations, one involving John Innes Centre scientists and the other The Sainsbury Laboratory. The genomes were compared with those of closely related species.

Analysis revealed that the parasites have discarded many genes. They have become specialised to live solely on their plant host and have dispensed with the genes that would be needed to survive elsewhere. Instead they have focussed on genes that help them stealthily take control of host cells. The genome sequences reveal large numbers of effector proteins, the molecules that invade plant cells to suppress plant immunity.


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Contact: Zoe Dunford
zoe.dunford@bbsrc.ac.uk
44-160-325-5111
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Source:Eurekalert  

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