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Plant pathogenic and toxigenic Fusarium species - their taxonomy, systematics and nomenclature in the molecular age

Brett Summerell: Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust

<div>The fungal genus <em>Fusarium</em> contains some of the most economically and socially important species of plant pathogens affecting agriculture and horticulture. It also contains numerous species that are important mycotoxin producers and some that are increasing in importance as pathogens of humans. Some of the plant diseases, such as head blight of wheat and Fusarium wilt of bananas, are amongst the most important diseases of these hosts and have not only caused enormous losses in production around the world but have also had a huge impact on the communities that depend on these crops. The genus is a complex, polyphyletic grouping whose taxonomy has always been controversial with species numbers ranging from over a 1000 at the beginning of the 1900s, down to 9 in the 1950s and ’60s and currently anything from nearly 100 to 500. The generic boundaries are also currently a point of debate. This talk will provide an overview of <em>Fusarium</em>, its phylogeny and biogeography and the mechanisms involved in speciation and the evolution of pathogenicity.</div>

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