DuPont, through its Pioneer Hi-Bred business, is making publicly available genomic sequences of a major fungal pathogen of corn plants to enable scientists worldwide to more quickly complete the sequence of this pathogen and to accelerate disease-resistance studies. Pioneer is donating the sequences to GenBank(R), the publicly available genetic sequence database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Pioneer's donation will accelerate the progress of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service’s Broad Institute's Fungal Genome Initiative. These research efforts represent the first time any groups have sequenced strains of this key pathogen.
Colletotrichum graminicola is a fungal pathogen that causes Anthracnose Leaf Blight and Stalk Rot, which lead to corn yield losses worldwide due to premature death and weakened stalk strength. Pioneer has commercialized Anthracnose-resistant corn hybrids in Latin America and is planning to incorporate an Anthracnose-resistant gene into corn hybrids that will grow in the Northern Hemisphere. "Defining and donating the gene sequences of C. graminicola will accelerate the scientific community's study of this important corn pathogen, creating knowledge that universities and ultimately companies can use to protect corn yields around the world," said William S. Niebur, vice president, DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development.