In collaboration with the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne GATC Biotech AG has decoded the genome of the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum graminicola. The recently published results show that gene expression plays a decisive role in plant disease. With this knowledge the international project aims to improve plant protection from this pest.
Since 2008 an international team of scientists has been involved in the project. Throughout the process, genome and transcriptome of Colletotrichum graminicola have been decoded and analyzed. For the first time in-depth knowledge of the transcriptome has provided information about timing and location of the expression of genes critical to the infection process.
The study revealed that the life of the pathogen determines gene features and gene expression. “The high quality of the sequencing has allowed us to obtain these remarkable insights“, tells Dr. Richard O’Connell, Head of the project. These insights are said to be of fundamental importance for future rational plant breeding und the research into finding methods for reducing the effects of this pathogen.
“The extensive use of Next Gen sequencing technologies, at that time still early in their development, and only a minimum of the standard Sanger technology made this project a challenge and very rewarding to complete“, states Dr. Christopher Bauser, Senior Scientific Project Specialist of GATC Biotech.
The challenge of sequencing has been the broad usage of different DNA preparation methods and sequencing technologies. The raw data have been assembled de novo without comparison to a similar reference genome.