The new research shows that the fungus likely boosted its ability to infect coffee plants by acquiring genes from a closely related fungus, which causes wilt disease on a wide range of crops, including Panama disease in bananas.
Lead researcher Professor Timothy Barraclough, from the Department of Zoology at Oxford and the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: “The historical approach shows us what happens to a plant pathogen before and after a new outbreak of disease occurs. We can then study the mechanisms of evolution and improve predictions of how similar outbreaks could occur in the future.
“Our aim is to replicate this study for many plant pathogens, eventually drawing up a ‘rule book’ of how pathogenicity evolves, helping us to prevent future outbreaks where possible.”
> Source: PHYS.ORG