Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uncovering the genome secrets of the Blackleg fungus

Date:
February 16, 2011
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
The genome of the Blackleg fungus, which causes the most damaging disease to canola crops worldwide, has been sequenced for the first time.

The genome of the Blackleg fungus, which causes the most damaging disease to canola crops worldwide, has been sequenced for the first time by a team of French and Australian scientists.

Related Articles


Professor Barbara Howlett from the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne, who led the Australian research team, said the discovery was a significant step towards controlling the rampant Blackleg disease.

"The 12,500 genes that constitute the genetic blue print for the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans have been identified and now can be mined to discover how this fungus causes the deadly disease," she said.

Blackleg disease can devastate crops and in 2003 caused 90% yield losses in some regions of Australia. The fungus reproduces so prolifically that it develops into genetically diverse populations that can quickly overcome the efficacy of resistance genes in canola crops.

"We have known for a long time that this fungus can evolve to become virulent and cause disease very quickly. Now we are much better placed to tell farmers which canola varieties they should sow to maximise their yield," she said.

The study published February 15 online in the journal Nature Communications also involved researchers from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), led by Dr Thierry Rouxel and the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens in Perth, Western Australia, led by Professor Richard Oliver.

Using information from the genome sequence, researchers have developed molecular markers that can predict whether disease outbreaks will occur.

"If an epidemic is predicted then farmers can plant a different canola variety, which will not readily succumb to disease," Professor Howlett said.

The study revealed a unique compartmentalisation of the genome into discrete alternating blocks that are either gene-rich or gene-poor. "Such a feature has not been seen previously in a fungal genome," Professor Howlett said.

"These gene-poor regions have few active genes but those that are present play important roles in the disease."

She said other regions of the genome are gene-rich and contained the 'housekeeping' genes, the pedestrian but essential genes necessary for an organism to survive.

"What our study revealed is that it is the location of the disease-related genes within the junk DNA which allows the genes to be readily mutated, lost or gained. This enables the blackleg fungus to cause disease outbreaks on canola varieties with particular resistant genes."

"The development of markers using information from the genome sequence enable us to better target the disease making genes and provide us with better information for crop protection strategies," she said.

These findings feed into a national project led by Professor Howlett and funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation which is aimed at developing disease management strategies for canola farmers in a 'genome to paddock' approach.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thierry Rouxel, Jonathan Grandaubert, James K. Hane, Claire Hoede, Angela P. van de Wouw, Arnaud Couloux, Victoria Dominguez, Vιronique Anthouard, Pascal Bally, Salim Bourras, et al. Effector diversification within compartments of the Leptosphaeria maculans genome affected by Repeat-Induced Point mutations. Nature Communications, February 15, 2011 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1189

Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Uncovering the genome secrets of the Blackleg fungus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110215111805.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2011, February 16). Uncovering the genome secrets of the Blackleg fungus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110215111805.htm
University of Melbourne. "Uncovering the genome secrets of the Blackleg fungus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110215111805.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins