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Mar 18, 2010

Australia Starts Gene Mapping Fusarium Bacteria That Attacks Cereal Crops

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency reported in Nature it has uncovered groundbreaking information regarding the genetic functions of Fusarium – a fungus capable of devastating cereal crops and causing billions of dollars of damage each year. This heavily impacts Australia is it is a lead producer of cereals.

The CSIRO research team sequenced the DNA of varieties types of Fusarium fungi in order to better understand how it converts it DNA into a virulent pathogen. The varieties included Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium verticillioides, Fusarium graminearum.

Fusarium oxysporum attacks crops such as cotton, tomatoes, and bananas. Fusarium verticilloides attacks corn crops. And, Fusarium graminearum attacks wheat and barley crops.

Separate but related CSIRO research projects include: 1) decoding the DNA of Fusarium pseudograminearum (“crown rot pathogen”), which attacks wheat and barley crops; and 2) sequencing Fusarium oxysporum, which is closely linked to CSIRO’s genome mapping project on the pea aphid.

Photo Credit: Fusarium growing on wheat stem base courtesy of CSIRO, Australia.

For more see: "CSIRO helps unmask a devastating crop disease," CSIRO, News Release 10/29, Australia, 18 March 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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