1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The major objective of this agreement is to generate complete genome and transcriptome sequences for representative species within the genus Fusarium. The fungal genus Fusarium includes devastating plant pathogens, threatening practically every major food crop around the world. In addition, many species produce metabolites that are highly toxic to animals and plants. Fusarium is one of the most extensively studied fungal genera, with a highly advanced state of accumulated knowledge with respect to its basic biology, pathology, and species-level phylogeny. However, there is an increasing need to develop a comparative genomic framework and associated tools that enable a global understanding of the biology, diversity, ecology, pathology, and evolution of the most agriculturally important groups within this genus. We aim to create such a framework by generating complete genome and transcriptome sequences for representative fusaria in order to: (a) improve diagnosis and detection; (b) improve understanding of the pathology and evolution of Fusarium; (c) facilitate the quick translation of basic knowledge to disease and toxin management; and (d) preserve and share accumulated data, ‘experience-based’ knowledge, and tools for future research and education.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
In order to achieve a critical next-step in pathogen genomic analyses, we intend to sequence, assemble, and annotate the genomes of 32 fusaria within the Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium fujikoroi species complexes. These groups include the major etiological agents of Fusarium head blight and ear rot diseases, as well as the most important producers of trichothecene and fumonisin mycotoxins. The resulting genome sequences will be used to sytematically catalog the inventory of genes and functional elements in these fungi, characterize the distribution and function of secondary metabolite gene clusters, and to develop an integrated Fusarium diagnostics and management resource.
3. Progress Report:
DNA and RNA samples were purified from 15 Fusarium isolates in preparation for genome and transcriptome sequencing. Quality control checks have been completed and passed for seven of these isolates and the remaining samples are currently being checked for quality and quantity. Significant delays were encountered due to bacterial contamination of many of the strains that will be sequenced via this agreement. Therefore, the agreement has been extended for one year to provide sufficient time to complete the genome and transcriptome analyses.