Improved surveillance and diagnostic systems are essential in responding to the threat of crop diseases. We have developed a new pathogen surveillance technique called “field pathogenomics” that can be readily applied to these difficult pathogens. The method uses new gene sequencing technology to assess the population structure of pathogens directly from infected field samples. Working closely with the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey (UKCPVS) we use complementary expertise in genotyping and phenotyping methods to track the spread of pathogen strains on a global scale and determine which wheat varieties are under threat by particular strains. For more information please click HERE.

How do we determine the genotype of a pathogen strain from an infected leaf?
  1. Samples are stored in RNA later solution to preserve the nucleic acids.
  2. Samples are disintegrated in liquid nitrogen.
  3. A series of chemical procedures are used to extract and purify the nucleic acids.
  4. The genetic code of the strain in the sample is determined using the latest sequencing technology.
  5. Determine the differences and similarities in the genetic code bewteen strains.
  6. Use these similarities and differences to determine how related different strains of the pathogen are