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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #440469

Research Project: Leveraging Population Genomics to Understand the Migration and Evolution of the Causal Pathogens of Boxwood Blight

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-22000-019-025-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

The overall objective of this research is to identify pathogenicity or virulence related genes in genomes of fungal plant pathogens that cause disease on economically important agronomic, horticultural, and vegetable crops. Specific objectives are: 1) predict genes and protein sequences from fungal plant pathogen genome assemblies, 2) identify genes that are rapidly evolving in different fungal plant pathogen genomes, 3) assign functions to rapidly evolving genes and identify those predicted to impact pathogenicity or virulence.

Previously generated genome assemblies for more than 20 species of fungal plant pathogens in the family Nectriaceae will be used to predict genes and protein sequences. Predicted protein sequences will be used to identify orthologous groups and generate a time-calibrated phylogeny. These data will be integrated to identify genes that are rapidly evolving in individual species of fungal plant pathogens. Putative functions of rapidly evolving genes will be assigned based on similarity of protein sequence data to characterized genes/proteins in public and manually curated bioinformatic databases. These data will be used to develop a final list of rapidly evolving pathogen genes with functions related to pathogenicity or virulence.