Swiss scientists sequence fire blight genome

Feuerbrand-Erbgut - Plan génétique feu bactérien - fire blight genome

Feuerbrand-Erbgut - Plan génétique feu bactérien - fire blight genome

Wädenswil, 11.05.2010 - Researchers at Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil ACW have published the first complete genome sequence of the fire blight pathogen, Erwinia amylovora. They have already found several new genes hidden in this genetic blueprint that may influence pathogen survival and virulence. This breakthrough will accelerate the pace of fire blight research worldwide, and paves the way for developing innovative control strategies that target the Achille’s heel of this devastating apple/pear disease.

Fire blight is the main threat to apple and pear production worldwide. Even though this was the first ever described bacterial plant pathogen in the 1790s, research progress to understand and control the disease has been slowed by an information bottle-neck of pathogen genetics.

This is about to change due to the complete genome sequencing of the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. This was accomplished by the research team of Dr. Brion Duffy from the Swiss National Fire Blight Competence Center at ACW with funding from the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture (BLW) and the Swiss Secretariat for Education and Research (SBF).
To most people, the genome looks like a book filled with colorful bars that represent all of the pathogen genes. But to researchers around the world, it holds the key to unlocking the secrets of fire blight. "Until now, figuring out the what-and-how of fire blight has essentially been a hit-or-miss process; no longer. This genome will accelerate research around the world. We have already made some exciting discoveries of genes that may be critical for pathogen survival and virulence. We recently sequenced several other strains, including a Swiss strain, which increases our ability to understand the mechanisms involved in specific plant-pathogen interactions." said Dr. Theo Smits, the lead bioinformatics post-doc working on this project.

"Our goal with this genome sequencing is to locate the pathogen Achille’s heel. Then we can target our applied research to design innovative control strategies that cripple the pathogen. This breakthrough opens the door to developing alternative chemicals, prescription biocontrol and streamlined apple/pear resistance breeding." said Duffy.

Weblink: apsjournals.apsnet.o­rg/doi/abs/10.1094/MPMI-23-4-0384


Complete genome of the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora.

Pear Hochstamm with severe fire blight (brown, dead shoots).

Bacterial ooze from an infected flower.
Address for enquiries

Brion Duffy
Research leader of
Bakteriology Research Team
Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil
Research Station ACW
P.O. Box, CH-8820 Wädenswil
Tel.: +41 44 783 64 16
brion.duffy [at] acw.admin (p) ch
Carole Enz
Press Service
Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil
Research Station ACW
P.O. Box, CH-8820 Wädenswil
+41 44 783 62 72
+41 79 593 89 85
carole.enz [at]
www.agroscope (p) ch



Last modification 05.01.2016

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