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2Blades and International Collaboration Publish the Annotated Genome Sequence of the Soybean Rust Pathogen
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: April 18, 2023 09:58AM

2Blades Foundation and a group of international collaborators have published the annotated genome sequence of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the causal agent of Asian soybean rust and one of the most damaging plant pathogens of the past century. The findings are published in Nature Communications.

Earlier in 2019, the group worked on the initial assembly of the P. pachyrhizi genome, but its large size and complexity required more effort to complete the annotation and analysis. A significant challenge with P. pachyrhizi is that it has two nuclei with separate sets of genetic instructions. Each had to be separately determined, which was recently made possible by newer, long-read sequencing technology.

The researchers compared sequences of three geographically distinct P. pachyrhizi genomes and found a number of insights into the pathogen's adaptability and broad host range. One of the key discoveries was that 93% of the P. pachyrhizi genome consists of transposable elements (TEs) or ??jumping? DNA that can move around the genome. Most fungi have 10-40% TEs, and the high percentage of TEs in P. pachyrhizi enables greater genetic plasticity. It helps to explain P. pachyrhizi's adaptability to environmental conditions and a range of hosts, making it a formidable threat.

Asian Soybean Rust is present in the soybean-growing areas of Latin America, where 210 million metric tons of soybean are projected to be produced in 2022/23 alone, representing a gross production value of US$115 billion per season. Brazil is the largest producer of soybean, where the cost of managing soybean rust exceeds US$2 billion per year and depends heavily on fungicides.

2Blades Foundation 2Blades and International Collaboration Publish the Annotated Genome Sequence of the Soybean Rust Pathogen - 2Blades Foundation

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