Canna Issues & Troubleshooting forum: Canna fungus research info

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Apr 19, 2010 8:54 PM CST
Name: Kim Joon
Homestead, Florida
Researchers have thought that the arms race between plant diseases and their hosts - pathogen attacks plant, plant develops resistance, pathogen overpowers resistance, etc. - is species specific.

However, a postdoctoral researcher has now shown that different fungal diseases in various plants have the same ancestor. The fungal diseases in tomato plants, banana and canna plants are very closely related, although the plants have had their own development history for millions of years.

Not only do the fungi have a common base from which they infect various plants, that these plants may also have a common resistance gene which recognizes these fungal pathogens and prevents them from causing diseases.

Since the Cf resistance gene can successfully protect the tomato against C. fulvum strains which produce a certain protein, the researchers postulate that this gene also gives good protection against M. fijiensis strains which produce a similar protein. They would test their theory by building this tomato Cf gene into canna to see whether the latter becomes resistant against these fungi. There is current work being done with a transgenic crop since a tomato gene has been introduced into the banana for similar resistance.

Currently, there is no proven resistance against the fungus in canna. Therefore, commercial canna growers use fungicides repeatedly annually. The article in PNAS researches heavily in Cladosporium fulvum, the causal agent of the tomato leaf mould disease, and much research is being done on the use of prevention in Canna using this pathogen.

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