Syngenta has announced the donation of important genetic information on Phytophthora infestans or Potato Late Blight, one of the most devastating plant diseases in global agriculture, to an international scientific gene database.

Syngenta is donating sequence information on nearly 18,000 individual genes expressed at key stages in the life-cycle of Phytophthora infestans as well as most of its genomic sequence to GenBank, a publicly available DNA database. Syngenta has worked for five years within the Syngenta Phytophthora Consortium, an international panel of academic institutions, to analyse these genes and develop a partial genomic sequence.

Late Blight was the cause of the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1850) and continues to cause billions of dollars worth of losses to potato and tomato crops each year. The Phytophthora infestans family also includes the pathogen causing the emergent Sudden Oak Death disease recently recognized in California.

"We are very pleased to announce this significant contribution to the scientific community's understanding of this plant pathogen," said David Lawrence, Head of Research and Technology at Syngenta. "These data-sets will be a unique tool for scientists investigating and seeking novel control strategies for Late Blight and related plant diseases."

Later this year Syngenta also plans to make available genomic data for three other important plant pathogens, the fungi: Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium verticilliodes.

Source: PR Newswire