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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438157

Research Project: Quarantine, Germplasm Acquisition/Maintenance, Phytopathology Studies and Clone Evaluation of Theobroma Cacao

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21220-258-003-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2020
End Date: Mar 31, 2025

Genomic databases of pathogens provide information needed to develop diagnostic tools required to determine the causes of disease epidemics and to certify that planting materials are disease-free in cacao quarantine facilities. Additionally, genomic databases serve to increase our knowledge of the biology of pathogens and their effectors that lead to disease. This knowledge will lead to better strategies for developing and exploiting disease resistance/tolerance in breeding programs. The objective of this project is to re-sequence, further assemble, and evaluate the genomes and transcriptomes of the main pathogens of cacao. By comparing the sequences of multiple isolates of each pathogen ARS will obtain a better understanding of their genetic diversity supporting cacao breeding programs globally.

Fungal isolates of major Theobroma cacao pathogens from cacao growing regions across the globe will be obtained through collaborations and material transfer agreements. The pathogens’ DNA and RNA will be acquired from pure culture and infected plant materials. The DNA and RNA will be sequenced by project cooperators and bioinformatics analysis will be used to analyze and compare these sequences. Disease effector sequences will be identified and compared among pathogen isolates.