The genome of the wheat and cereal pathogen Fusarium graminearum was published in Science this week in an article entitled “The Fusarium graminearum Genome Reveals a Link Between Localized Polymorphism and Pathogen Specializationtion”. The project was a collaboration of many different Fusarium research groups. The genome sequencing was spearheaded by the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT and is part of a larger project to sequence several different species of Fusarium. The group sequenced a second strain in order to identify polymorphisms.
Some of the key findings
- The presence of Repeat Induced point-mutation (RIP) has likely limited the amount of repetitive and duplicated sequences in the genome
- Most of the genes unique to F. graminearum (and thus not present in 4 other Fusarium spp genomes) are found in the telomeres
- Between the sequenced strains SNP density ranged from 0 to 17.5 polymorphisms per kb.
- Some of the genes expressed uniquely during plant infection (408 total) include known virulence factors and many plant cell-wall degrading enzymes.
- The genes showing some of the highest SNP diversity tended to be unique to Fusarium and often unique to F. graminearum