Genome research for environmentally-friendly plant protection

© Christian Urban, Universität Kiel

Since yesterday, Wednesday 26 August, until Friday 28 August, the "Environmental Genomics" working group at the Botanical Institute at Kiel University, led by Professor Eva Stukenbrock, is holding the international workshop "Evolutionary Genomics of Plant Pathogens". Around 50 experts from roughly 20 international universities and research institutes are coming together at the Centre for Molecular Biosciences Kiel (ZMB) to discuss the current state of knowledge in the genomics of plant pathogens, as regards the whole genetic information of plant pests. The workshop in Kiel is part of a Europe-wide initiative which aims to reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture by scientifically developing environmentally-friendly plant protection.

The initiative, called COST Sustain, is financed by the EU programme COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) for promoting Europe-wide research cooperation. The interdisciplinary workshop will focus on such issues as which genes are responsible for how harmful plant pathogens are, how this harmfulness prevails under high selection pressure, or which genetic mechanisms are responsible for fast adaptation of pests to changing environmental conditions.

"Recently, knowledge about the evolutionary interaction of crops and their pests has become more comprehensive. Decrypting the genetic bases of these mutual adaptations is fundamental for effective, natural plant protection. An important tool for this is the ever increasing and more accessible data volume on plant pest genomes. Bit by bit, our research is working towards farming ensuring food security without extensive pesticide use", says Professor Stukenbrock, member of the research focus "Kiel Life Science" (KLS) at Kiel University, about the significance of the workshop and the research area.

In order to get a little nearer to the goal of sustainable plant protection, researchers from various disciplines are trying to use the natural resistance of plants against their pests. Against this, above all, is the ability of plant pathogens to overcome the plant's protective mechanisms using fast evolutionary adaptations. Current advances in genome sequencing and analysis enable science to increasingly understand the evolution of plant pathogens, and thus identify promising approaches for environmentally-friendly plant protection.

Key facts:

What: International workshop "Evolutionary Genomics of Plant Pathogens"

When: Wednesday 26 August to Friday 28 August 2015

Where: Centre for Molecular Biosciences Kiel (ZMB),

Am Botanischen Garten 11, 24118 Kiel


Prof. Eva Stukenbrock

Working Group „Environmental Genomics“

Botanical Institute, Kiel University

Tel.: +49 (0)431/-880-6366

E-Mail: estukenbrock@bot.uni-kiel.dee

More information:

Event website "Evolutionary Genomics of Plant Pathogens":

Working group "Environmental Genomics":

Research focus "Kiel Life Science" (KLS)

EU programme COST Sustain:

Media representatives who wish to report on the international workshop "Evolutionary Genomics of Plant Pathogens" in Kiel are very welcome. The event is taking place as part of the research focus "Kiel Life Science" (KLS) at Kiel University, which connects research from agricultural and nutritional sciences, natural sciences and medicine.