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Stephen B Goodwin

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • USDA Professor
765.494.4635
765.494.3452
Lilly Hall Room 1-339

 

The goal of my research is to understand the genetic bases of plant host-pathogen interactions, at both the molecular and population levels. This information will be used to increase the level of resistance in cereal crops to foliar diseases caused by fungi.

Septoria disease of wheat, caused by the two fungi Mycosphaerella graminicola (anamorph Septoria tritici) and Phaeosphaeria (Septoria) nodorum, is an economically important disease that occurs throughout the world. Analyses of the population genetics of these pathogens in Indiana are being conducted to reveal the primary sources of inoculum, the extent of gene flow among populations and the modes of reproduction during epidemics. Methods for genetic analyses of P. nodorum have been developed recently and are being applied to elucidate the genetic basis of pathogenicity. The number of genes involved in pathogenicity and their mode of action are still not known. Molecular markers (including RFLP, RAPD, AFLP and microsatellite technologies) are being used to develop genetic maps and identify the chromosomal locations for pathogenicity genes and other traits of biological interest. Another aspect of my research is to use phylogenetic analyses to determine the evolutionary relationships among both septoria pathogens and their nearest relatives. Understanding the mechanisms of speciation in pathogenic fungi could indicate new approaches for developing improved disease management strategies.

Work with the host is focused on identifying genes for resistance in wheat, and on finding molecular markers that are closely linked to resistance genes. Molecular markers that tag known resistance genes will be used to facilitate the incorporation of resistance into wheat through plant breeding programs. Genetic analyses of resistance and of molecular markers will aid the eventual cloning and molecular characterization of plant genes for resistance to foliar fungal pathogens.