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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Genome Sequencing, Analysis, and Functional Genomic Studies of Aspergillus Flavus

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Project Number: 6435-41420-006-06
Project Type: General Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 01, 2012
End Date: Jul 31, 2017

Objective:
A) Sequencing and analysis of the whole genomes of additional aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus (A.) strains including both L and S type strains from A. flavus and A. parasiticus for genome wide comparison on their genome structure, gene sets, and gene functions; B) Identify gene and sets of genes involved in genetic regulation on aflatoxin formation, sclerotia development and pathogenecity; and C) Using Next Generation sequencing technologies to study fungus – plant (crop) interaction and to identify genes and factors that confer resistance against fungal infection in crops such as peanut or corn for devising strategies to eliminate or reduce aflatoxin contamination in food and feed.

Approach:
The genome size of Aspergillus (A.) strain is about 36 Mega basepairs. Sequencing and assembly will be done by newer Next Generation Sequencing platform and at J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). The sequence will be annotated and the putative coding regions will be identified with the help of the A. flavus and A. oryzae gene model. Comparative analysis of the Aspergillus strains will be made in reference to the A. flavus and A. oryzae genome using the advanced software available at JCVI. Both crop (peanut) and fungus (A. flavus) samples under infection condition will be collected. Total ribonucleic acid (RNAs) will be isolated from these samples. Next Generation Sequencing technologies (such as RNA-Seq by Illumina) will be used to determine transcriptional levels of all the genes expressed under those controlled conditions at a specific time point during fungal infection. Analysis and comparison on fungus and resistant vs. susceptible crop varieties will be performed to identify gene(s) involved in infection in fungus and resistance in crop plant at JCVI in the cooperator’s laboratory.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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