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Researchers to use K-State's BSL-3 Lab for $1 million study of fungus threatening wheat crops
Date:1/15/2009

sticated genome sequencing apparatus that the Integrated Genomics Facility, housed in the department of plant pathology, recently acquired.

Valent said the researchers also will take advantage of the wheat varieties available at K-State's Wheat Genetic and Genomic Resource Center, led by Bikram Gill, university distinguished professor of plant pathology. The center maintains a gene bank with 2,500 wheat accessions.

Once the researchers have narrowed down a few Kansas varieties in the laboratory, they will further test the resistance by planting them in a test field in Brazil. "We'll let the fungus find our varieties naturally," Valent said.

The third aspect of the project involves sharing findings about wheat blast with stakeholders in the state's wheat production. This involves creating Web-based communication tools and organizing three workshops, individually tailored for extension professionals, industry professionals, policymakers or diagnosticians of the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Valent said that the workshops will take advantage of the Biosecurity Research Institute's capability to connect trainees in a conference room with scientists working in containment via video.

Valent said the project will offer experience to two graduate students, one in the communications field and another in plant science.

"One reason we're really excited about this project is that we're teaching students how to deal with plant bioterrorism threats," Valent said. "The student in the sciences will be taught not only how to look for resistance, but also how to do it in a high-containment environment. That's not something students often get a lot of experience in."


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Contact: Barbara Valent
bvalent@k-state.edu
785-532-2336
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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