Navigation Links
Scientists sequence genomes of 2 major threats to American food and fuel
Date:5/5/2011

An international team of researchers co-led by a University of Minnesota scientist has sequenced the genomes of two fungal pathogens -- one that threatens global wheat supplies and another that limits production of a tree crop valued as a future source for biofuel.

The sequencing of the genetic codes of wheat stem rust pathogen (Puccinia graminis) and poplar leaf rust pathogen (Melampsora larici-populina) is expected to help researchers develop control strategies to address worldwide threats to wheat fields and tree plantations. The study, which was published this week in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a six-year collaborative effort of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the University of Minnesota and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.

The study represents the first genome-wide characterization of any rust fungus, a diverse group of more than 6,000 species, according to Les Szabo, a lead researcher on the project. Szabo works at the ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory on the university's St. Paul campus and is a member of the plant pathology department faculty.

Rust fungi are obligate biotrophs that depend on living tissue of their hosts for survival. These pathogens secrete proteins that enable them to block the host plant's defenses and steal nutrients. The research uncovered evidence that both pathogens have a large repertoire of "effector" proteins, an indication that they likely have adapted and co-evolved with their host plants, according to the study authors.

Because they need a host to survive, the pathogens can't be cultured in a laboratory and are notoriously hard to study. But the genetic sequencing opens a window into the never-ending arms race between these pathogens and their hosts, Szabo said.

Wheat stem rust has caused major epidemics of both barley and wheat worldwide. A new strain known as Ug99 has recently spread across Africa and into Central Asia, and is able to overcome most of the stem-rust-resistant wheat varieties developed over the past 50 years.

Poplar leaf rust can cause losses of up to 50 percent of annual growth in poplar tree plantations. Poplar is an important crop for the wood industry and is becoming increasingly important to the biofuel industry in the United States and Europe because their rapid and significant biomass production.

"These pathogens pose a great threat to two very important agricultural crops. The more we can learn about them, from the molecular underpinnings of the pathogenicity to their survival and spread, the better we will be able to develop effective, safe and long-lasting control strategies," said Marty Carson, ARS-CDL research leader. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and the research supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy and promoting international food security.

The team's sequence data, gathered since the projects began in 2004/2005, has been released in GenBank, a genetic database administered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
2. Scientists identify novel inhibitor of human microRNA
3. Argonne scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
4. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
5. Scientists identify gene that may contribute to improved rice yield
6. Scientists discover why a mothers high-fat diet contributes to obesity in her children
7. MU scientists see how HIV matures into an infection
8. Earth scientists keep an eye on Texas
9. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
10. Scientists identify a molecule that coordinates the movement of cells
11. Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/15/2017)... 15 2017   ivWatch LLC , a medical device company ... today announced receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard ... Organization for Standardization (ISO®). ... Model 400 Continuous Monitoring device for the early detection of IV ... "This is an important milestone for ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) ... international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase ... value in various industries. France ... the international market, with a 30 percent increase in the ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... May 5, 2017 RAM Group ... a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based on ... mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors ... material created by Ram Group and its partners. This ... transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 system ... experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity of programming ... systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such as with ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient ... Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this week. ... among health care professionals to enhance the patient care experience ... and other health care professionals to help women who have ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and ... of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and ... San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their ... 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter ...
Breaking Biology Technology: