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Crop Biotech Update

Russian Biologists Sequence Fusarium Genome

August 26, 2020

Biologists from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU), St. Petersburg State University, and Federal Centre for Bast Fiber Crops teamed up to sequence and assemble the genome of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lini, a highly destructive fungal parasite causing Fusarium wilt.

Fusarium wilt is a disease caused by various species of Fusarium fungi, and botanists and plant scientists are aware of approximately 120 species of the parasite capable of infecting a wide spectrum of crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, cabbages, peas, corn, barley, wheat, and many other plants. The study focused on the characterization of F. oxysporum f.sp. lini which infects flax, a major source of textile fiber, seed, and flaxseed (linseed) oil in Russia.

The research team found that the parasite's genome consists of two components; the stable one, which is almost identical in different Fusariums, and the variable part which is mainly responsible for the adaptation of the fungus to various plants. The release of the complete genome sequence contributes to the global efforts aimed at eliminating plant disease outbreaks by aiding in the engineering of new resistant crop varieties.

For more details, read the article on the SPbPU website.

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