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Apple scab is one of the most destructive diseases of apple (malus x domestica borkh.) and caused by the hemi-biotrophic fungus venturia inaequalis (Cooke) Winter. Scab is a serious problem in all apple-producing regions of the world and requires a series of 12 to 15 fungicide sprays per year in commercial orchards. Apple scab is one of the most well characterized plant-pathogen interactions in woody plant species. In total, eight races of the pathogen have been defined by incompatibility, determined by avirulence genes (avr genes), on corresponding host cultivars carrying a major resistance gene (R gene).

Using next generation sequencing technologies, we have generated 50x coverage of the apple genome and transcriptome profiling data for apple fungal infection. Data management and downstream analysis protocol requires a computational framework that allows users to engage with the data and promotes hypothesis driven research. We have now established a local instance of ENSEMBL Plant and Fungal databases displayed in a genome browser. Access this FungalBase here. The following bioinformatics projects are underway:

• transcriptome profiling of host-pathogen response
• integrate transcription data, SNP and CNV data and information from more selective sequencing strategies such as ChIP-Seq and Bisulphite sequencing (for methylation analysis).

Collaborator: Professor Jasper Rees – Agricultural Research Council

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