The sequencing of the genetic codes of wheat stem rust pathogen (Puccinia graminis) and poplar leaf rust pathogen (Melampsora larici-populina) is expected to help researchers develop control strategies to address worldwide threats to wheat fields and tree plantations.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a six-year collaborative effort of USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, the National Science Foundation, the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.
"The threats these pathogens pose to two essential agricultural products are very real, and that makes it important to learn everything we can about them, from their molecular underpinnings to how they survive and spread infection," said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of ARS, USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. The research supports the USDA priority of developing new sources of bioenergy and promoting international food security.
Wheat stem rust causes major epidemics of both barley and wheat worldwide. A strain known as Ug99 has spread across Africa and into Central Asia, and has been able to overcome most of the stem-rust-resistant wheat varieties developed over the past 50 years.
Poplar leaf rust can cause significant losses in poplar tree plantations. Poplar is an important crop for the wood industry and is becoming increasingly important to the biofuel industry in the United States and Europe because of its rapid and significant production of biomass.
The study represents the first genome-wide characterization of any rust fungus, a diverse group of more than 6,000 species, according to Les Szabo, a lead researcher on this project. Szabo works at the ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn.
Rust fungi depend on living tissue of their hosts for survival. The pathogens secrete proteins that enable them to block the host plant's defenses and steal nutrients. The research uncovered evidence that both pathogens have large numbers of such "effector" proteins, an indication that they likely co-evolved with their host plants, according to the study authors.
Because they need a plant host to survive, the pathogens can't be cultured in a laboratory and are notoriously hard to study. But the genetic sequencing opens a window into the never-ending arms race between these pathogens and their hosts, Szabo said.
The team's sequence data has been released in GenBank, a genetic database administered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Dennis O'Brien | EurekAlert!
Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Ultrasound sensors make forage harvesters more reliable
28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Information Technology