NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A team of researchers has published the draft genome sequences of two plant pathogens, Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora sojae, which cause millions of dollars per year of damage to oak trees and soybean crops, respectively.
Researchers from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute published the sequences of both genomes in the Sept. 1 issue of Science.
The sequence information indicates that both species have a large number of genes compared to other pathogenic organisms, such as fungi. The researchers identified 19,027 potential genes in P. sojae and 15,743 in P. ramorum. The sequences also point toward a recently acquired set of proteins that enable the pathogens to attack their plant hosts.
A comparison of the two Phytophthora genomes revealed the rapid expansion and diversification of many protein families linked to plant infection, including toxins, protein inhibitors, and enzymes that can break down cell walls.