Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Rice blast disease is the most important fungal disease of rice worldwide. Rice is the staple food for two thirds of the human population. The most effective method of disease control is to grow disease resistant plants. Unfortunately, the causal fungus is able to overcome this resistance within 2-3 years after these plants are cultivated widely. We are trying to understand the details of how the rice blast fungus is recognized by rice plants that are resistant to blast and how the fungus changes in order to overcome this recognition. In order to improve our understanding of this host-parasite interaction, we have characterized DNA elements which are present in many copies in the DNA of the rice blast fungus. We found that this kind of DNA is often associated with different transposable elements, DNAs that can move in the genome. Transposable elements can cause changes in the genome that allow the fungus to overcome its recognition by disease resistant varieties of rice. Thus the presence of repeated DNAs, which can serve as repositories for transposable elements or encode transposable elements, likely contributes to the pathogenic variation of this important plant pathogen.