Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech, Colorado State University, and Duke University Medical Center have developed a new method to determine gene function on a genome-wide scale in the fungal pathogen Alternaria brassicicola. This destructive fungus causes black spot disease, leading to considerable leaf loss in such economically important crops as canola, cabbage, and broccoli.
Genomic methods that allow the disruption of several thousand genes are needed because they allow high-throughput identification of genes and gene function. Such procedures are widely applicable and would be extremely useful in allowing scientists to investigate the key events that occur when a host interacts with a pathogen.
"The development of this protocol is timely as the genome sequence of A. brassicicola is scheduled for completion in 2006. We now have in our hands a versatile method that will allow us to dissect the pathogens nucleotide sequence information and establish the function of many of the individual genes in this filamentous fungus," said Christopher Lawrence, associate professor at VBI, director of the project, and one of the authors of the study.
Barry Whyte | EurekAlert!
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