Navigation Links
Genome of barley disease reveals surprises
Date:12/10/2010

Scientists have sequenced the genome of a major fungal disease that affects barley and other cereal crops, a breakthrough that could lead to significant advances in our understanding of how plant diseases evolve. The research, published today in the journal Science, suggests that parasites within the genome of the fungus help the disease to adapt and overcome the plant's defences.

The study could help with the development of new agricultural techniques for protecting cereal crops from infection. Barley grains are the basis of many staple foods, and also central to the brewing and malting industries, so keeping the plants disease-free is becoming increasingly important for food security. Today's research, led by Dr Pietro Spanu from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, decodes the genome of Blumeria, which causes powdery mildew on barley.

Powdery mildew affects a wide range of fruit, vegetable and cereal crops in northern Europe. Infected plants become covered in powdery white spots that spread all over the leaves and stems, preventing them from producing crops, and having a devastating impact on the overall agricultural yield. Farmers use fungicides, genetically resistant varieties and crop rotation to prevent mildew epidemics, but the fungi often evolve too rapidly for the techniques to be effective. The mildew is able to evolve so quickly because multiple parasites within the genome, known as 'transposons', help it to disguise itself and go unrecognised by the plant's defences. It is as if the transposons confuse the host plant by changing the target molecules that the plant uses to detect the onset of disease.

The researchers discovered that Blumeria had unusually large numbers of transposons within it. "It was a big surprise," said Dr Spanu, "as a genome normally tries to keep its transposons under control. But in these genomes, one of the controls has been lifted. We think it might be an adaptive advantage for them to have these genomic parasites, as it allows the pathogens to respond more rapidly to the plant's evolution and defeat the immune system."

The authors believe that their research will contribute significantly to the design of new fungicides and resistance in food crops, as they now understand how the mildew can adapt so quickly. "With this knowledge of the genome we can now rapidly identify which genes have mutated, and then can select plant varieties that are more resistant," said Dr Spanu. The genetic codes will also help scientists monitor the spread and evolution of fungicide resistance in an emerging epidemic. "We'll be able to develop more efficient ways to monitor and understand the emergence of resistance, and ultimately to design more effective and durable control measures."

Mildew pathogens are a type of 'obligate' parasite, which means they are completely dependent on their plant hosts to survive, and cannot live freely in the soil. Because they are so dependent, the pathogens have devised a way to disguise themselves in order to avoid the immune response of the host plant and overcome its defences.

"We've now found this happening in lots of fungi and fungal-like organisms that are obligate pathogens," said Dr Spanu, adding that the costly genome inflation could therefore be a trade-off that makes these pathogens successful. "Non-obligate pathogens are not so dependent on their hosts, as they can live elsewhere," said Dr Spanu, "so they are less dependent on rapid evolution."


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Gallagher
l.gallagher@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-48432
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists propose new international cancer effort akin to Human Genome Project
2. Genome 10K Project announces first 101 species for genome sequencing
3. MU plant genome research receives $3 million boost from National Science Foundation
4. ASPB members lead new plant genome research program awards
5. Is the shape of a genome as important as its content?
6. NSF awards new projects for plant genome research
7. NSF awards $3.75 million grant to New York Plant Genome Consortium for the creation of BigPlant v1.0
8. NIH-funded scientists sequence genomes of lyme disease bacteria
9. Singapore scientists first to perform genome-wide study of human stem cells
10. UBC gains $5.4 million for microbiome research from CIHR, Genome BC
11. UF to help sequence genome of flowering plants ancient living relative
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... Finland , June 9, 2016 ... National Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the ... France during the major tournament ... data communications systems and services, announced today that its video ... Prefecture to back up public safety across the ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... von Nepal hat ... Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung ... in der Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. ... Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 ... ... the US Computational Science Symposium (CSS) and the popularity of US Single Day ... will take place in early Summer 2018, in Raleigh, NC. Topics of the ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... Orthogonal, a ... their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for their flagship medical device, SimplECG. ... remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on cloth-based nanosensors. While other companies have ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 1, 2016   ... liquid photopurification, announced today that the Company has concluded ... has the right for a 90-day period to acquire ... invoice value of approximately USD 3.7 million.  ... an agreement with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... a new moving magnet Voice Coil Actuator with a flexure design that ensures ... long life with cost-effective pricing and is ideally suited where extreme precision is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: