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Abstract Detail

Karling Lecture

McDonald, Bruce A [1].

The dark side of fungal domestication.

The invention of agriculture ~12,000 years ago set the stage for the development of civilization by enabling human populations to become sedentary and expand exponentially. The expansion of agriculture was accompanied by profound transformations of ecosystems globally as natural ecosystems were converted into agricultural ecosystems to feed the burgeoning human population. The domestication of the plants and animals grown in agroecosystems to feed humans has been well documented. The domestication of some fungi (notably beer and bread yeast as well as edible mushrooms) to enhance food production is also apparent. It now appears that domestication of plants was accompanied in many cases by domestication of their corresponding pathogens, leading to the emergence of host-specialized plant pathogens that are highly adapted and very damaging in many agroecosystems. Similar processes are likely to have occurred in domesticated animals and perhaps in human populations. The effect of domestication on particular traits and identification of the associated genes has resulted from intensive study of domesticated plants and animals, often through research programs supporting breeding efforts that aim to further improve valuable agricultural traits. It is likely that plant domestication, operating in conjunction with agroecosystem properties that facilitate rapid pathogen evolution, has favored characteristic genetic and genomic changes that have enabled the emergence of “domesticated” pathogen populations. One characteristic that may have been favored during pathogen evolution in agroecosystems is the development of an accessory genomic compartment that can evolve more quickly than the core genome, creating a two-speed genome.

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1 - Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH, Plant Pathology Group, Universitatstrasse 2, Zurich 8092, Switerland


Presentation Type: Special Presentation
Session: S1
Location: Auditorium/Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: S1001
Abstract ID:216
Candidate for Awards:None

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