Meet the species whose DNA has recently been sequenced
|The fungus Leptosphaeria maculans,/i> causes stem canker in this crop, oilseed rape|
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Brian Robert Marshall
Species: A pathogenic fungus, Leptosphaeria maculans
Genome size: 45 million base pairs
Interesting fact: This fungus causes stem canker in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy, and is a major threat to oilseed rape, which is used to produce canola oil, animal feed, and biofuel.
linkurl:T. Rouxel, et al., "Effector diversification within compartments of the Leptosphaeria maculans genome affected by Repeat-Induced Point mutations,"Nature Communications 2: 202, 2011.;http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n2/full/ncomms1189.html
Attack of the killer algae
|Red tides, like this one from 2001, are similar to the brown tides caused by Aureococcus anophagefferens|
Image: Wikimedia Commons, NOAA
Species: A golden alga, Aureococcus anophagefferens
Genome size: 56 million base pairs
Interesting fact: This species, which causes brown tides that threaten fisheries and coastal marine life, has a larger genome than other photosynthetic algae, with more genes for light harvest, organic carbon and nitrogen use, and antimicrobial production, potentially allowing its takeover during blooms.
linkurl:C.J. Gobler, et al., "Niche of harmful alga Aureococcus anophagefferens revealed through ecogenomics," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108: 4352-4357, 2011.;http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/02/22/1016106108.abstract
A tricki parasite
|Trichinella spiralis in its namesake coiled shape|
Image: Wikimedia commons, CDC
Species: Trichina worm, Trichinella spiralis
Genome size: 64 million base pairs
Interesting fact: After ingestion by meat-eating mammals, Trichinella spiralis
larvae incubate in the intestine before they travel through the bloodstream to muscle, where they encyst and wait to be ingested by a predator of their host to continue their lifecycle -- such as when people eat pigs.
linkurl:M. Mitreva, et al., "The draft genome of the parasitic nematode Trichinella spiralis," Nature Genetics 43, 228-35, 2011;http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v43/n3/full/ng.769.html
An algal chloroplast
Species: Chloroplast of a green alga, Bryopsis hypnoides
Genome size: 153,000 base pairs
Interesting fact: If the cell wall of this single-celled alga breaks, the extruded protoplasm can regenerate into a new individual -- one that can grow up to three times the size of the original.
linkurl:F. Lu, et al., "The Bryopsis hypnoides Plastid Genome: Multimeric Forms and Complete Nucleotide Sequence," PLoS ONE 6(2): e14663, 2011.;http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0014663
Two pathogenic leaf rust fungi
|Puccinia graminis stem rust on wheat|
Image: Wikimedia commons, USDA
Species: Wheat stem rust fungus, Puccinia graminis
Genome size: 88.6 million base pairs
Interesting fact: In 1999, a new strain of this rust fungus known as UG99 emerged and evolved to overcome the resistance that had been bred into wheat in the 1960s, allowing it to spread via wind from Uganda to Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran, and now toward Pakistan and India.
Species: Poplar leaf rust fungus, Melampsora larici-populina
Genome size: 101.1 million base pairs
Interesting fact: The fungus infects poplar trees and forms spores in golden balls on the surface of leaves, reducing the photosynthetic ability of the tree and its ability to reproduce.
linkurl:S. Duplessis et al., "Obligate biotrophy features unraveled by the genomic analysis of rust fungi," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1019315108, 2011.;http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/04/28/1019315108.abstract
**__Related stories:__*** linkurl:Contaminated genomes;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57990/
[16th February 2011]*linkurl:Genome digest;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57985/
[14th February 2011]*linkurl:Cancer genomes sequenced;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56221/
[16th December 2009]