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Oral: Disease Management in the Genomics Era


Genomics of bacterial pathogen populations as a tool to inform crop disease prevention and control.
B. Vinatzer (1); (1) Virgina Tech, VA, USA

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Next Generation genome sequencing has already transformed how we study the biology of plant pathogenic bacteria and their interaction with host plants. Moreover, while just a few years ago we sequenced the genomes of a few strains representative of a pathogen, we can now easily sequence every single outbreak strain of a pathogen. This allows us to investigate the genetic diversity of an entire pathogen population instead of analyzing the genome of a single strain. Using Pseudomonas syringae and Ralstonia solanacearum as examples, we show the new insights we have gained into disease emergence, pathogen dissemination, evolutionary histories, and virulence mechanisms of these pathogens and how these insights can inform disease prevention and control. Finally, we will show how a genome sequence-based taxonomy can provide precise names for bacterial taxa at almost any level of diversity, from a bacterial family to a single outbreak strain. We expect this precise taxonomic system to aid in pathogen identification and disease diagnostics and, consequently, allow for targeted disease control.