Biotech Updates

Genome of Downy Mildew Pathogen Sequenced

December 23, 2010

Researchers led by Dr. Pietro D. Spanu of the Department of Life Sciences at the Imperial College London, United Kingdom have sequenced the genome of Blumeria, the causal pathogen of a major fungal disease called downy mildew. The disease attacks many cereal crops, fruits and vegetables in Northern Europe, covering the leaves and stems with powdery white spots that result to reduced production.

The team found that there are a large number of active transposons within the genome of Blumeria that could be an adaptive mechanism to allow it to respond more rapidly to the plant's resistance evolution and defeat its immune system. The genomic sequence of the pathogen is hoped to give scientists important scientific knowledge to design and develop resistant crops and other control strategies.

'With this knowledge of the genome we can now rapidly identify which genes have mutated, and then can select plant varieties that are more resistant,' Dr . Spanu explains.

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