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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2013;67:399-416. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092412-155650.

Fusarium pathogenomics.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003; email:


Fusarium is a genus of filamentous fungi that contains many agronomically important plant pathogens, mycotoxin producers, and opportunistic human pathogens. Comparative analyses have revealed that the Fusarium genome is compartmentalized into regions responsible for primary metabolism and reproduction (core genome), and pathogen virulence, host specialization, and possibly other functions (adaptive genome). Genes involved in virulence and host specialization are located on pathogenicity chromosomes within strains pathogenic to tomato (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici) and pea (Fusarium 'solani' f. sp. pisi). The experimental transfer of pathogenicity chromosomes from F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici into a nonpathogen transformed the latter into a tomato pathogen. Thus, horizontal transfer may explain the polyphyletic origins of host specificity within the genus. Additional genome-scale comparative and functional studies are needed to elucidate the evolution and diversity of pathogenicity mechanisms, which may help inform novel disease management strategies against fusarial pathogens.

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