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Jacqueline Meyer delivered her prestige seminar at FABI and successfully defended her PhD thesis on 8 February. The title of her presentation was: “RNA-Seq and metabolic profiling of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins in resistance to grey leaf spot disease caused by Cercospora zeina”. A PhD student in the Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions group, Jacqueline was supervised in her research by Prof. Dave Berger, Dr Shane Murray from the University of Cape Town and Prof. Zander Myburg.

Jacqueline’s oral examination panel included Prof. Eric Schmelz from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, San Diego, Dr Inge Gazendam from the Agricultural Research Council’s Vegetable and Ornamental Plants, and Prof. Marion Meyer from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria.

Jacqueline’s study explored the maize plant’s (Zea mays) chemical defence strategies, particularly the accumulation of kauralexins in response to attack by C. zeina. Cercospora zeina infection causes grey leaf spot and can lead to massive losses in maize crops. It is especially devastating for subsistence farmers who depend on maize for their livelihood. The project was part of the Genomics of Quantitative Disease Resistance in African Maize Varieties; a TIA-funded initiative between the University of Pretoria, the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Pannar Seed (Pty) Ltd.  

New Publications

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x
Stewart JE, Ross-Davis AL, Graҫa RN, Alfenas AC, Peever TL, Hanna JW, Uchida JY, Hauff RD, Kadooka CY, Kim MS, Cannon PG, Namba S, Simeto S, Pérez CA, Rayamajhi MB, Lodge DJ, Arguedas M, Medel-Ortiz R, López-Ramirez MA, Tennant P, Glen M, Machado PS, McTaggart AR, Carnegie AJ, Klopfenstein NB, Cleary M. (2017) Genetic diversity of the myrtle rust pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) in the Americas and Hawaii: Global implications for invasive threat assessments. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12378