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Title: SAVING PATHOGEN COLLECTION: IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Author
item Kang, Seogchan
item Blair, Jaime
item Geiser, David
item Khang, Chang-hyun
item Park, Sook-young
item Gehegan, Mark
item Luster, Douglas - Doug
item Ivors, Kelly
item Kim, Seong
item Lee, Yong-hwan
item Lee, Yin-won
item Grunwald, Niklaus
item Veeraraghavan, Narayanan
item Makalowska, Izabela

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2006
Publication Date: 9/1/2006
Citation: Kang, S., Blair, J.E., Geiser, D.M., Khang, C., Park, S., Gehegan, M., Luster, D.G., Ivors, K.L., Kim, S.H., Lee, Y., Lee, Y., Grunwald, N.J., Veeraraghavan, N., Makalowska, I. 2006. Saving pathogen collection: it takes a village. Phytopathology. 96:920-925.

Interpretive Summary: Archives of plant pathogen cultures are a community asset that we cannot afford to lose. Accurate identification of plant pathogens is critical for implementing appropriate disease management and regulatory measures. Cataloging pathogen cultures, along with various data associated with them in a format that can be easily accessed and searched, will provide an effective means for rapidly analyzing the species and population identity of a newly discovered pathogen and assessing its potential risk, will facilitate monitoring of changes in pathogen populations and species as they respond to agricultural practices and environmental changes, and will help track the movement of pathogens. The under-explored diversity of plant pathogens in nature further underscores the importance of cataloging pathogen isolates that have been isolated and studied to date. Such culture collection is also essential for supporting pathogen genomics. Despite their scientific and practical importance, we constantly face the risk of losing many of the archived pathogen cultures. The goal of this letter is to stimulate discussions among members of the plant pathology and related science communities on why and how we should protect and improve this resource.

Technical Abstract: Archive of plant pathogen cultures, as the primary link that connects the past, present, and future research, surveys and disease epidemics, is a community asset that we cannot afford to lose. Accurate identification of plant pathogens is critical for implementing appropriate disease management and regulatory measures. Cataloging pathogen cultures, along with various genotypic/phenotypic/epidemiological data associated with them in a format that can be easily accessed and searched will provide an effective means for rapidly analyzing the species and population identity of a newly discovered pathogen and assessing its potential risk, will facilitate monitoring of changes in pathogen populations and species as they respond to agricultural practices and environmental changes, and will help track the movement of pathogens. The under-explored diversity of plant pathogens in nature further underscores the importance of systematically cataloging pathogen isolates that have been isolated and studied to date. Such culture collection is also essential for supporting pathogen genomics. Because crop loss is caused by populations of strains that vary within species in many pathological traits, materializing the full potential of pathogen genomics as a foundation for developing more effective disease control measures hinges on how effectively we use the biology and genome of sequenced isolates as a reference to gain a comprehensive understanding of the genetic and phenotypic diversity within pathogen species across the temporal and geospatial scales. However, despite their scientific and practical importance, we constantly face the risk of losing many of the archived pathogen cultures. The goal of this letter is to stimulate discussions among members of the plant pathology and related science communities on why and how we should protect and improve this resource.