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Phytopathology. 2006 Sep;96(9):920-5. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-96-0920.

Plant pathogen culture collections: it takes a village to preserve these resources vital to the advancement of agricultural security and plant pathology.


Plant pathogen culture collections are essential resources in our fight against plant disease and for connecting discoveries of the present with established knowledge of the past. However, available infrastructure in support of culture collections is in serious need of improvement, and we continually face the risk of losing many of these collections. As novel and reemerging plant pathogens threaten agriculture, their timely identification and monitoring depends on rapid access to cultures representing the known diversity of plant pathogens along with genotypic, phenotypic, and epidemiological data associated with them. Archiving such data in a format that can be easily accessed and searched is essential for rapid assessment of potential risk and can help track the change and movement of pathogens. The underexplored pathogen diversity in nature further underscores the importance of cataloguing pathogen cultures. Realizing the potential of pathogen genomics as a foundation for developing effective disease control also hinges on how effectively we use the sequenced isolate as a reference to understand the genetic and phenotypic diversity within a pathogen species. In this letter, we propose a number of measures for improving pathogen culture collections.

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