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Correct identification of agriculturally relevant pests and diseases is a basic principle for successful and sustainable plant protection. Together with epidemiological data on frequency and distribution, this information forms the basis for the development of robust and reliable plant protection strategies. Comparative genomic analyses enable development of innovative diagnostic tests and the identification of possible weaknesses in important plant pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
We develop molecular methods for the identification and genetic characterisation of harmful and useful organisms and diseases and of crop plant varieties. We use these methods for reliable molecular diagnostics of important pests and quarantine organisms and for the genetic variety identification of crop plants.
We study population genetic parameters of pests and diseases to understand factors responsible for their spread and population size. We study the invasion biology of important pests to understand the factors that have contributed to their spread.
We use pyrosequencing for the de-novo genome sequencing of important plant pathogenic bacteria (e.g. fire blight) and viruses. Based on this sequence information, we develop specific diagnostic tests and we search for pathogenicity genes. Knowledge of the characteristics and combination of such genes is an important basis for the further development of plant protection strategies.
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