WALNUT CREEK, CA--Researchers are closer now to thwarting two related plant pathogens, one causing "Sudden Oak Death" (SOD) and another responsible for a devastating soybean disease, thanks to the DNA sequence produced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI), in collaboration with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI). The projects received nearly $4 million in support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the DOE in this multi-agency effort.
"The ability to use large-scale multi-agency collaborations to rapidly characterize such economically important microorganisms is the cornerstone of the resource that we have established at the Joint Genome Institute," says Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science, which funds operations of the JGI. "For both these pathogens, the genome sequence information will enable the identification of cellular processes that can be targeted for novel detection systems and for safe and effective means of chemical or biological control."
"The genome sequences for these two Phytophthora [pronounced Fy-TOFF-thor-uh] species provide a framework for understanding how these plant pathogens cause disease and what can be done to control them," says Dr. Joseph Jen, USDA's Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics. "USDA is pleased to be working with the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation to jointly support the genome sequencing of these microorganisms."
"Phytophthora species attack a wide variety of plants, including agricultural crops as well as trees and shrubs of native ecosystems," explains Dr. Mary Clutter, NSF Assistant Director for the Biological Sciences. The projects to sequence the genomes of Phytophthora sojae, which attacks primarily soybeans, and Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen causing Sudden Oak Death, "will contribute great value in combating
Contact: David Gilbert
DOE/Joint Genome Institute