JGI helps unravel sudden oak death


Gene sequence will produce major benefits for agriculture & forestry

The U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute will announce the completion of the genetic blueprints of the organisms, Phytophthora ramorum, the cause of Sudden Oak Death (SOD) and its cousin, Phytophthora sojae, responsible for soybean disease.

In partnership with the California Oak Mortality Task Force, JGI will assemble a panel of selected experts at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 10, at its Walnut Creek Production Genomics Facility, to discuss the implications of this work, including how the new DNA sequence information will enable more sensitive and effective field detection systems and treatments for these pathogens. Participants include University of California, Berkeley researcher Matteo Garbelotto, Patrick Shea, SOD Research Program Manager of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, and private industry representatives.

The discussion will be followed by a tour of the JGI Production Genomics Facility.

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) has spread throughout 13 California counties, hitting hardest in Marin, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Sonoma counties. It has also been detected at 125 nurseries across the nation, elevating concerns about the pathogen to an all-time high. Foresters and outdoor enthusiasts are witnessing oak woodlands being forever altered. Homeowners are losing majestic trees that are not only expensive to remove, but serve as emotional anchors for their homes. Consumers are hesitant to buy plants and place them in their yards for fear of bringing the disease into their neighborhood.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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