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Goss’s Bacterial Wilt Pathogen: from genome sequencing to a diagnostic application

James T. Tambong (2016) Goss’s Bacterial Wilt Pathogen: from genome sequencing to a diagnostic application. Invited talk. CFIA Plant Research Seminar Series, March 16, 2016.


Goss's wilt disease of corn is caused by the Gram-positive bacteria, Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis (CMN), with potential losses as high as 50% from systemic infections of the xylem. First reported in 1969, in south central Nebraska, it was mainly confined in four Midwestern states in the USA. The disease became sporadic after partially resistant cultivars were identified and cultivated. Recently, the Goss’s wilt disease has re-emerged and is spreading rapidly in major corn growing regions of USA and Canada. The re-emergence of CMN may be due to the use of corn hybrids selected solely based on high yield potentials, without a robust disease-resistant/tolerant component. Or, it could be a classic phenomenon of coevolution that occurs between a pathogen and the host. Bacterial pathogens such as CMN are constantly changing their genetic capacity to enhance their virulence and adaptation to the hosts. In this presentation, genome sequences of current CMN strains, collected in Manitoba (Canada) during the 2014 growing season will be compared to that of a representative strain isolated in Nebraska (USA) over 40 years ago. In addition, the translation of the generated genome data to a reliable diagnostic application will be discussed.

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