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Biology and pathogenicity of the plant pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea

Botrytis biology and pathogenicity. Botrytis cinerea is a filamentous fungus in the class Ascomycetes, and a notorious plant pathogen that causes massive crop losses prior and post harvest in leading agricultural crops worldwide (Bi et al., 2022). There is no host-specific resistance against B. cinerea, and alongside sanitation and other preventative methods, fungicides are the only effective means of controlling the disease.

The aim of our study is to obtain deep knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate Botrytis – plant interactions and use it for development of alternative disease control methods that will help reducing the use of synthetic fungicides.

Two main projects are currently underway:

Characterization of B. cinerea cell death inducing effectors and their use to boost plant resistance (Bi et al., 2021).

Mechanisms of heat adaptation and use of advanced temperature treatments in disease management.

Development of disease-resistant transgenic wheat

Disease resistant wheat. We use advanced genomics to isolate new disease resistance genes from our collection of wheat wild relatives.

Current projects aim at genes that confer resistance against stem, leaf, and stripe rusts, the three most widespread and economically important wheat diseases.

We use genomic resources and a diversity panel the wheat wild relative Aegilops longissima to isolate new genes (Avni et al., 2022; Yu et al., 2022a,b).

Transgenic wheat lines are produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation at our wheat transformation and genome editing center.

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