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Genetics and Genomics Studies on Penicillium Species to Prevent Postharvest Apple Decay and Mycotoxin Production


<p>The objective is to sequence, annotate, and analyze the whole genome sequences of Penicillium species that cause apple decay (blue mold) after harvest during storage. Through genome analysis and gene profiling, identification of gene(s) that are responsible for spore germination, fungal infection, and mycotoxin formation will be uncovered. These genes will be further studied using a reverse genetics approach, for their involvement in the infection process to devise targeted and specific strategies to control this disease. Much needed new control methods will result in reduced economic losses and eliminate mycotoxin production due to Penicillium spp infection in apple fruit.</p>

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<p>Several approaches will be employed in order to achieve the objectives mentioned above. First, comparative genome analysis between highly and weakly aggressive isolates of Penicillium species (P. expansum and P. solitum). The genes that are tentatively involved in infection will be further studied by gene knock-out experiments to verify their specific biological function. Secondly, Next-generation sequencing technologies will be used to profile genes for spore germination, mycelial growth and mycotoxins production. Thirdly, a comparative genomics approach for P. expansum and P. solitum will be conducted to study the genetic basis and regulatory mechanisms involved in fungal virulence.</p>

Yu, J.
Rutgers University
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