Hot topics | Coronavirus pandemic

Russian Scientists Have Decoded The Genome Of Dangerous Parasitic Fungi In Plants

Russian Scientists Have Decoded The Genome Of Dangerous Parasitic Fungi In Plants

Russian biologists have deciphered the genome of a fungus that affects flax and causes fusariosis – a severe plant disease, the pathogens of which are almost not affected by fungicides. The research is available in the scientific journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. The press service of the Saint Petersburg State University (SPBU) writes about it briefly.

"There are two parts in the genome of this fungus. One is more or less constant and stable, almost the same in different species of the genus Fusarium, the other varies from mushroom to mushroom. For example, for pests of banana, it is one of the pests of tomatoes – another. The fact that we were able to collect the chromosomes is a very big step forward in terms of understanding its evolution and adaptation to a specific host," said Alexander Kanapin, one of the authors of the work, Professor at St. Petersburg State University.

Fungi from the genus Fusarium are one of the most dangerous pathogens in plants, they can affect many crops. In total, there are more than 120 varieties of these fungi that infect tomatoes, cucumbers, flax, cabbage, peas, sunflowers, and many other plants.

For example, in the middle of the last century, there was an outbreak of the so-called Panama disease, which is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense. This disease destroyed almost all plantings of the Gros Michel variety of bananas, which then dominated the world. New "versions" of this fungus now threaten plantings of Cavendish bananas, which replaced Gros Michel in the 1960s after the end of the Fusarium epidemic.

Protection against fusariosis

"Unfortunately, it is almost useless to water an infected plant with chemicals, because the fungus lives inside it and in the soil, and its spores can persist for a very long time. The world community believes that the right approach is to develop resistant varieties, " explained Anastasia Samsonova, a Professor at St. Petersburg State University and another author of the study.

Molecular biologists from Saint Petersburg State University, Peter the Great Spbpu, and the Federal scientific center for bast cultures have made a big step towards solving this problem. They first decoded the genome of the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lini, which affects flax. now it is the most dangerous pathogen of fungal diseases of flax.

Kanapin, Samsonova, and their colleagues worked with DNA samples from cells of five varieties of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lini, which are particularly active in plants. After reading each fragment of their genome several dozen times, biologists were able not only to decipher it but also to find out how the individual chromosomes of this fungus are arranged.

In the near future, scientists plan to compare the structure of the genome of this fungus with what the DNA of other Fusarium pathogens that affect tomatoes, melons, and other crops looks like. Scientists hope this will help them understand exactly how fungi adapt to parasitism on these plants, and what is needed to create new varieties that are resistant to fusariosis.

You may also like: