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:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., the ... Counting technology, entered into a license and supply agreement ... science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo Scientific ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic bacterial ... States to aid in assessing the risk ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Avanade is helping Williams Martini Racing, one of ... biometric data in order to critically analyse every aspect ... against their rivals after their impressive, record-breaking pit stop ... with Williams during the 2016 season to capture and ... rate, temperature and peak acceleration) for key members of ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Valencell , the leading innovator in performance biometric ... consecutive year of triple digit growth for its PerformTek ... 360 percent increase in companies who have acquired Valencell ... sales of its wrist and ear Benchmark™ sensor systems, ... hearables for fitness and healthcare applications. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... CALGARY , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ... update that will be presented at the Company,s Annual and ... Meeting of Shareholders will take place on Thursday, December 15, ... Ross Glenn Hall (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate ... am (MST). A notice of meeting and management information circular, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... the association for the California life ... st Century Cures legislation in Congress. The bill passed ... and in the Senate on December 7 by a 94-5 ... , president & CEO of Biocom: "Today, Congress ... patients around the world. The measure culminates three years of ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... -- Vyriad Inc. announced today the appointment of Alvin ... "We are delighted to welcome Al to ... our oncolytic viruses as the next generation of precision ... MD, PhD, CEO of Vyriad. "Al and his wife, ... for making a difference for cancer patients—their philanthropy has ...
(Date:12/7/2016)...  Muse bio, a privately-held company leading the development ... Kevin Ness has been appointed Chief Executive ... Kevin succeeds Muse bio,s founding CEO ... Officer as well as remains Slade Professor, Chemical and ... at the RAS Energy Institute at the University of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: