Organisation - December 9, 2004

PRI maps fungus

The genome of the most important threat to European grain growers is being unravelled. Plant Research International will map the DNA of the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola, together with American government researchers and scientists from Purdue University in the US. PRI has been studying the genes of this pathogen of wheat for years. The fungus, which causes septoria leaf blotch disease in wheat, causes damage amounting to six hundred million euros each year. Once the DNA of the fungus has been mapped, scientists will hopefully be able to find more ingenious ways of combating the fungus. When the genome mapping is complete Mycosphaerella graminicola will probably function as a model organism for further research on plant diseases, as it belongs to a family with more pathogens among its numbers. / WK