Research report 2012 - Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Cooperative threat: How interactions with associated organisms increase plant pathogen fitness
Max Planck Research Group Evolution of Obligate Parasitism and Biodiversity
SummaryNew plant diseases emerge regularly being a threat for food security. Some pathogens cause epidemics on living plants only and are called biotrophs. Comparative genomics revealed a loss of essential metabolic pathways leading to biotrophy. However, gene loss is only possible due to the ability to suppress host defense. Defense suppression and adaptability requires a large gene pool that is acquired by sexual recombination or interaction with other organisms. To get a comprehensive view on how new pathogens emerge it is important to dissect their interaction within natural habitats.