Navigation Links
Virginia Tech plant scientist leads study on genomics of parasitic plants
Date:1/30/2008

Blacksburg, Va., Three types of parasitic plants, each exhibiting a different degree to which it needs its host, are the subject of a three-year, $1.5 million study at Virginia Tech to catalog genes essential to parasitism. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Plant Genome Program, the study examines hard-to-control weeds in the Orobanchaceae family that can wreak havoc on commodity and food crops, especially in developing countries in Africa and the Middle East.

From a practical point of view, we want to understand these plants better because they devastate yields for potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers, beans, and cereal crops, among others, and we want to learn how to control them, said Jim Westwood, associate professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. From a purely scientific point of view, we also want to gain more information about these plant species because of their unique biology. We know little about the genomics of parasitism in plants, and this study will increase our knowledge in this area.

Westwood and his colleagues are studying three genera within the Orobanchaceae family, each representing a different stage of evolutionary development, and then analyzing this data.

  • Westwood is focusing his portion of the study on the Orobanche genus, commonly known as broomrape. This genus relies entirely on other plants for nutrients, never photosynthesizing or producing its own chlorophyll.

  • Michael Timko, professor of biology at the University of Virginia, is investigating the Striga genus, which will not germinate without a host. Unlike Orobanche, this so-called witchweed only needs other plants during its early growth stages and does produce some of its own nutrients through photosynthesis.

  • John Yoder, professor of plant sciences at the University of California at Davis, is looking at the genetic material of the Triphysaria genus, sometimes called owls clovers. Found in the wild dunes of California, this plant only feeds on the nutrients of another plant if it encounters a species it can parasitize.

  • Claude dePamphilis, professor of biology at Penn State University, will assist with the bioinformatics analyses needed to decipher the steps in molecular evolution that separate the three focal species.

Westwood, Timko, Yoder, and dePamphilis will compare the DNA of these species with the related, but non-parasitic Mimulus, or monkey-flower, genus.

We know that the amount of genetic material per cell is greater in plants that exhibit increasing levels of parasitism, but we dont know whether this is because the plant is absorbing the genetic material of its hosts or whether this is a natural part of adaptation, said Westwood, who adds that a revolution in plant genomics has recently enabled this kind of research.


'/>"/>

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

Related biology news :

1. Wireless Public Safety Solution From BIO-key(R) and DaProSystems Links Virginia Law Enforcement Agencies
2. Bad carbs not the enemy, University of Virginia professor finds
3. UA-led research team awarded $50 million to solve plant biologys grand challenge questions
4. River plants may play major role in health of ocean coastal waters
5. Stroke victims may benefit from stem cell transplants
6. Ants and avalanches: Insects on coffee plants follow widespread natural tendency
7. Northwestern Memorial trial may wean kidney transplant patients off antirejection drugs
8. Stem-cell transplantation improves muscles in MD animal model, UT Southwestern researchers report
9. Springer launches Tropical Plant Biology
10. A special issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences
11. Medical breakthrough for organ transplants and cardiovascular diseases by Flemish researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Virginia Tech plant scientist leads study on genomics of parasitic plants
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... N.Y. , March 27, 2017  Catholic ... Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for ... EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, CHS ... of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical record ... for its high level of EMR usage in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017   Neurotechnology , a provider of ... announced the release of the SentiVeillance 6.0 ... facial recognition using up to 10 surveillance, security ... The new version uses deep neural-network-based facial detection ... utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for enhanced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of scientific ... the world, is announcing a new textbook scholarship, the second scholarship in the LabRoots ... 17 years or older, pursuing a degree in one of the life sciences. The ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... BELLINGHAM, Washington, and WASHINGTON, DC, USA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, ... ... powerful driver of the economy as well as an enabler of life-saving medical and ... society for optics and photonics . They joined others in the scientific community today ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent ... the most troublesome and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, ... Almost 200 weed scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... A new Technology ... Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on quantum devices, graphene electronic ... Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting in North America, will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: