Genetics Science Fair Project
Genetic and Pathogenic Variation among chickpea disease

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Project Information
Title: Assessment of Genetic and Pathogenic Variation among Ascochyta rabiei (a chickpea disease)
Subject: Genetics
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Advanced
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: High
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($300)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2009
Description: The main goals of this project were to evaluate genetic diversity among a few isolates of A. rabiei collected from Canada, Syria, Israel and USA using Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) molecular marker; to compare pathogenicity of these isolates on susceptible chickpea cultivar; to determine the relationship between the genotypes and pathotypes of these isolates. Materials and techniques used: SSR primers, DNA polymerase, PCR, NTSYS software.

Wikimedia Commons / Dr. Weidong Chen Research Plant Pathologist
Ascochyta blight (chickpea disease) fungus

Ascochyta blight caused by the fungal pathogen Didymella rabiei / Ascochyta rabiei / Mycosphaerella rabiei is a devastating disease of chickpea. Our research has been searching for management solutions of this disease by identifying resistance sources, testing effective fungicides and investigating pathogenic mechanisms. The pathogen produces toxin solanapyrones and the toxins were thought to be important to disease development. In one study of ours recently published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, we generated mutants of Ascochyta that could not produce the toxin anymore. The mutants caused disease on chickpea just as well as the original isolate of the pathogen that was able to produce the toxins, demonstrating that the solanapyrone toxins are not required for pathogenicity. These toxins must play other important roles in the pathogen ecology.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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