Using computational genomics to develop a general gene model for the plant pathogen phytophthora infestans

Michael Kwan, The College of Wooster


Phytophthora infestans is a plant pathogen responsible for the crippling potato disease late blight which is accountable for billions of dollars in crop damage annually. Given the destructive nature of this pathogen, it is important that we understand its genetic makeup so we can better determine a means of preventing such damage. The computational analysis of several hundred P. infestans genes has yielded a tentative gene model which has provided valuable information regarding the length of a typical P. infestans gene, the average length and number of introns per gene, as well as relative conservation of nucleotide sequences surrounding the intron splice sites. These results should prove to be useful in developing a specific gene model for Phytophthora infestans, which could be then used to create an application that will be able to better predict the structure of P. infestans genes. The results from this study when combined with data from other Phytophthora genomes may also be useful in generating a more general gene model for the entire Phytophthora genus. Such a model would allow for genes to be predicted across a wider range of Phytophthora species.


© Copyright 2009 Michael Kwan