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Poster: Biology & Disease Mgmt: Mycology


Progress on genomic analysis and taxonomy of the rice blast fungus (Pyricularia oryzae) and other Magnaporthales specie
N. ZHANG (1), G. Cai (2), D. Bhattacharya (3), J. Luo (3), H. Qiu (3) (1) Rutgers University, U.S.A.; (2) USDA, ARS, U.S.A.; (3) Rutgers University, U.S.A.

The order Magnaporthales includes the rice blast fungus Pyricularia oryzae (=Magnaporthe oryzae), the take-all pathogen Gaeumannomyces graminis, and saprotrophs. Recent phylogenomic analyses strongly support the idea that the sexual genus Magnaporthe is polyphyletic and that the placement of the rice blast fungus in this genus was based on an incorrect morphological identification in the 1970’s. The asexual genus Pyricularia is the older (1880s) and correct name for the blast fungus, which corresponds well with pathogenicity, and ecological and evolutionary features. Following the new “One Fungus One Name” nomenclature, we propose to use Pyricularia oryzae for the rice blast fungus, and treat Magnaporthe oryzae as a synonym that can continue to be included in publications as Pyricularia oryzae (=Magnaporthe oryzae). This will help to bridge the literature and knowledge gap for this important species. In January 2016, a workshop entitled “Comparative genomic approaches to understanding the evolution of Magnaporthales” was held at Rutgers University. About 30 working group members are currently analyzing genome data from selected Magnaporthales lineages to understand the evolution of pathogenicity and life-style adaptation. Specifically, the following research topics are being addressed: OrthoMCL analysis of gene families, the secretome, positive selection acting on orthologous genes, MAT, secondary metabolism, and the molecular clock for Magnaporthales.