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Molecular tools for characterization of rice blast pathogen (Magnaporthe grisea) population and molecular marker-assisted breeding for disease resistance

Molecular tools for characterization of rice blast pathogen (Magnaporthe grisea) population and molecular marker-assisted breeding for disease resista

Molecular tools for characterization of rice blast pathogen (Magnaporthe grisea) population and molecular marker-assisted breeding for disease resistance   (Citations: 18)
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Rice blast caused by the fungal pathogen, Magnaporthe grisea (anamorph: Pyricularia grisea) limits rice yield in all major rice-growing regions of the world, especially in irrigated lands and dry upland environments where predispo- sition factors favour disease development to epidemic propor- tions. Deployment of host resistance is by far the most effective means of control. The dynamic evolution of the blast fungus in response to different rice genotypes compli- cates breeding for blast resistance. In order to prolong the useful life of resistance genes, a knowledge of population genetics and evolutionary biology of the pathogen is r e- quired. The population structure and virulence composition of the blast fungus have been analysed in terms of genetic diversity, fertility and virulence characteristics. A global atlas of M. grisea and a rice blast database have been con- structed based on the information. This report discusses the molecular tools that have been used for characterizing M. grisea populations in epidemic areas and describes how the molecular data generated through these methods are linked to breeding for durable blast resistance. Molecular breeding approach has been deployed in several countries across the world including India for the improvement of blast resistance in high-yielding commercial rice cultivars. BLAST is considered the principal disease of rice because of its wide distribution and high incidence under favourable conditions (Figure 1). It is a pote ntially damaging disease in upland environment where drought and soil stress predis- pose the rice crop to severe attacks by the pathogen. Yield loss due to blast can be as high as 50% when the disease occurs in epidemic proportions. Magnaporthe grisea (Hebert) Barr (syn: Pyricularia grisea Sacc.), a filamentous heterothallic ascomycetous fungus is the causal organism of blast. The genus Mag- naporthe collectively paratisizes more than 50 hosts, ind ivi- dual isolates have limited host range and cross -infectivity is relatively rare. The ability of this fungus to quickly ove r- come resistance within a short time after the release of a new cultivar has made breeding for resistance a constant challenge. An understanding of the structure and dynamics of pathogen population is essential for prudent implement a- tion of strate gies for management of the disease. Recent work suggests that diverse individual isolates can be grouped on the basis of DNA sequence patterns into a li m- ited number of lineages, each of which has a characteristic host range. In this review, we highlight a set of molecular tools that are currently being used to study the population dynamics of the rice blast fungus, and explore a promising
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