Science article includes UD research


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9:46 a.m., Dec. 10, 2010----University of Delaware researchers have contributed to a Dec. 10 Science journal article titled “Genome Evolution Following Host Jumps in the Irish Potato Famine Pathogen Lineage.”

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The focus of the article, with primary authorship by researchers from the Sainsbury Laboratory in England, is a comparative genomic analysis of a group of plant pathogens that are closely related to Phytophthora infestans (P. infestans), a pathogen responsible for the Irish potato famine.

The work reports the sequencing and analysis of six Phytophthora genomes, and it demonstrates that the genomes of these microbial pathogens has evolved in a patchwork of different evolutionary rates that correlate with the density of genes in these regions. These data provide insights into plant pathogen evolution and adaptation to the plants that host these pathogens.

The publication includes and builds on the work of three UD researchers -- Blake Meyers, chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences; Nicole Donofrio, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences; and Sridhara Kunjeti, a doctoral student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources -- who are part of a larger UD group studying a close relative of P. infestans, Phytophthora phaseoli (P. phaseoli), which causes a disease that is devastating to lima beans.

In the Science manuscript, the UD authors contributed the genome sequence and DNA of a Delaware strain of P. phaseoli.

Science is a prestigious international journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Article by Adam Thomas