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MSc student

Department

Plant Sciences
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Primary Supervisor
Dave Berger

I am an MSc student in the Molecular Plant Pathogen Interactions (MPPI) group. I obtained a BSc degree in Biotechnology and a BSc (Hons) degree in Plant Science from the University of Pretoria. My Honours research project involved the expression profiling a candidate grey leaf spot (GLS) defence response gene in maize.

The title of my Master’s project is “Mating type gene analysis of Cercospora zeina in South Africa”. Cercospora zeina is the causal agent of GLS of maize, a disease of economic importance. This has dire consequences with regards to food security as many countries in Africa have maize as their staple food.

The main aim of this project is to determine the status of mating type genes of C. zeina isolates collected in South Africa. This will allow us to assess the level of variability of South African isolates of C. zeina. This study will also aim to determine whether there is a difference in the mating type gene ratios between C. zeina isolates from commercial farms and small holder farms.

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Publication
Muller MF, Barnes I, Kunene NT, Crampton BG, Bluhm B, Phillips S, Olivier NA, Berger DK. (2016) Cercospora zeina from maize in South Africa exhibits high genetic diversity and lack of regional population differentiation. Phytopathology 106(10):1194-1205. 10.1094/PHYTO-02-16-0084-FI