Biotech Updates

Scientists Sequence Crop Fungus' Genome

October 17, 2012

Scientists from the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) and the University of Dhaka have decoded the genome of the killer fungus Macrophomina phaseolina, an organism that blights valuable crop plants such as jute, rice, cotton, maize and soybean.

Lead scientist Maqsudul Alam explained that M. phaseolina uses a diverse arsenal of enzymatic and toxin tools to destroy host plants. Having tracked the M. phaseolina genome lays the foundation to elucidate the specialized mechanism that helps the fungus infect more than 500 plant hosts. This leads the scientists to design rational strategies for plant disease control and develop fungus-resistant crops.

Cracking the M. phaseolina genome was the extension of work on decoding the jute genome that Alam and his team had achieved two years earlier.

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