An aggressive ambrosia beetle and its fungal symbiont that has the potential to kill many tree species, were recently discovered in South Africa. Dr Trudy Paap, postdoctoral fellow in FABI, found a lane of infested plane trees in the vicinity of the KZN Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg.
Comparative genomics is shaping our notion of what fungal species are. Based on current data, these unique evolutionary units are separated from one another by boundaries that are porous under certain conditions. This affects our expectations regarding their population biology and evolution, and our strategies for recognizing and controlling them.
Approaches for characterizing metabolic potential from genomic sequences have previously been predicted to be useful in the description of bacterial taxa. Dr Marike Palmer, has recently employed these approaches for identifying biological processes contributing to the divergence of bacteria with a variety of lifestyles.
Two research papers from FABI were selected as cover stories in two consecutive issues of the international journal, Plant Pathology. The journal is published by Wiley for the British Society of Plant Pathology.