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Researchers collect the pathogenic ‘tree of life’


Chilean potatoes show the effects of Phytophthora late blight. Credit: Jan Restino, NC State University

A new online tool – the first of its kind for plant pathogens – will help researchers around the world to identify, discover and monitor species Phytophthorawhich has been responsible for plant diseases ranging from the devastating Irish potato famine of the 1840s to the sudden death of oak trees that continues to afflict West Coast oak populations.

The new pathogen “tree of life” provides a wealth of information about each of the 192-plus officially described species–including their evolutionary histories and relationships within groups–as well as more than 30 other informally described taxa. It also includes genetic sequence data from several locations on the genetic blueprint, or genome, for each species. Other important data include the global locations of each species, which plants host the pathogen, and where the pathogen resides in – or on – its plant hosts.

“We take everything known Phytophthora species and place them in a living ‘tree of life’ using the Tree-Based Alignment Toolkit (T-BAS) developed by my colleague Ignazio Carbone,” says Jan Restino, MD, professor of plant pathology at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of a paper in Plus one that describe the tool. “Researchers can put emerging threat types into an open access tree and look at groups that are expanding and evolving.”

The new tool will allow researchers to update plant pathology information in real time.

“The real key to preventing disease outbreaks is getting the signals before an outbreak happens,” said Restino, director of the Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security Group at NC State. “T-BAS could be useful as a tool for disease surveillance and for discovering the next new strain that might emerge. Researchers can query this database and the tree will incorporate the new species.” The first kind in sex Phytophthoraor “plant destroyer”, was described and named in 1876. Phytophthora They are present in air, soil and water and can cause diseases of food crops, ornamental plants and trees.

About 150 new Phytophthora The species has been identified since 2000,” says NC State doctoral student Alison Comber, who developed the tool with the team.

“This is an unusually large number of plant pathogenic species,” Restino said. “a lot Phytophthora The species has wide host ranges, so it can “move” over wider areas. ”

Ristaino, who published a paper in nature In the 2001 Breed Determination Investan Phytophthora that caused the Irish Potato Famine, hopes to eventually combine physical maps with T-BAS data to help provide better pathogen monitoring between states or countries.

We have extracted all data published on Phytophthora“Collaborating and sharing data makes a lot more sense than confidentiality,” Restino said.

Ristaino added that the Phytophthora The T-BAS tool is housed in the DeCIFR web portal available through the NC State Center for Integrated Fungal Research, which explores fungi and the roles they play in agricultural, animal, environmental, and human health systems. More information on accessing the tool can be found on the Ristaino Lab website.

Comber is the first author of the paper. The paper was also co-authored by Amanda Saville, director of the Ristaino lab, and Ignacio Carbone, professor of plant pathology and director of the NC State Center for Integrated Fungal Research.

more information:
“Open-Access T-BAS Strain for Emerging Plant Species,” Available here. Plus one (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283540

Provided by North Carolina State University

the quote: Researchers Collect Pathogen ‘Tree of Life’ (2023, April 3), Retrieved April 3, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-pathogen-tree-life.html

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