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Student research team sequences genome of bacterium discovered in Virginia Tech garden
Date:4/21/2010

years ago, Steve Lindow, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, had genetically engineered this bacterium to protect plants from frost by deleting a gene that makes a protein causing water to freeze at relatively high temperatures.

"Also a bacterium isolated in upstate New York by Cornell University researchers belongs to the same group of bacteria and was found to control a fungus that causes a disease of apple," Vinatzer added.

Maureen Farrell, of Aldie, Va., a sophomore majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science, and Christopher Clarke, of Atlanta, Ga., a graduate student in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, are now trying to determine whether the bacterium has the same effect on a pathogen causing a devastating disease of snap bean in Virginia. "This bacterium could potentially be used to protect crops from many different pathogens, but finding the best way to deploy it in the field is a challenge" said Vinatzer.

"We also found several genes in this bacterium that are similar to genes in a human pathogen, but fortunately know that this bacterium cannot cause disease in humans since it stops growing at 30 degrees Celsius," Vinatzer said.


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Contact: Michael Sutphin
msutphin@vt.edu
540-231-6975
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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