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Epidemiology and population biology

Potato stem affected by blight
"We have optimised a set of multiplex microsatellite markers that have proved to be important tools for monitoring population change.

Our main objectives are to examine the factors that drive change in pathogen populations and the impact of change on the epidemiology and sustainability of disease management.

Phytophthora infestans

The James Hutton Institute has one of the largest and most diverse collections of P. infestans isolates in Europe and new isolates from late blight surveys are continually being added to this collection. We have optimised a set of multiplex microsatellite markers that have proved to be important tools for monitoring population change. We have used these markers for tracking population on British crops working with the AHDB Potatoes Fight Against Blight campaign (see 2014-2017 report). We also use this system to genotype populations on a European and world scale via the EuroBlight consortium. The mapping of EuroBlight population data is available (see mapping tool).

Collaboration with the Plant-Pathogen Interactions team means we can examine the frequency of different alleles of effector genes in populations and understand how these alleles determine pathogen recognition by R genes.

Primary inoculum is the source of all new blight outbreaks and we are using the latest research tools to assess the significance of different inoculum sources such as oospores and tubers.

Recent references

Dey, T.; Saville, A.; Myers, K.; Tewari, S.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Tripathy, S.; Fry, W.E.; Ristaino, J.B.; Guha Roy, S., (2018) Large sub-clonal variation in Phytophthora infestans from recent severe late blight epidemics in India., Scientific Reports, 8, Article No. 4429.

Goss, E.M.; Tabima, J.F.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Restrepo, S.; Fry, W.E.; Forbes, G.A.; Fieland, V.J.; Cardenas, M.; Grunwald, N.J., (2014) The Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans originated in central Mexico rather than the Andes., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 111, 8791-8796.

Li, Y., Cooke, D.E.L., van der Lee, T., Jacobsen, E. 2012. Efficient multiplex simple sequence repeat genotyping of the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Journal of Microbiological Methods 92, 316-322.

Cooke, D.E.L., Cano, L.M., Raffaele, S., Bain, R.A., Cooke, L.R., Etherington, G.J., Deahl, K.L., Farrer, R.A., Gilroy, E.M., Goss, E.M., Grünwald, N.J., Hein, I., MacLean, D., McNicol, J.W., Randall, E., Oliva, R.F., Pel, M.A., Shaw, D.S., Squires, J.N., Taylor, M.C., Vleeshouwers, V.G.A.A., Birch, P.R.J., Lees, A.K., Kamoun, S. 2012. Genome analyses of an aggressive and invasive lineage of the Irish potato famine pathogen. PLoS Pathogens 8(10) e1002940. (doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002940)

Research

Areas of Interest


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.