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The overall aims are:

1) to develop molecular methodologies to resolve population-species boundaries in EC regulated Alternaria pathogens, understand risks and develop diagnostic assays for pathogen
monitoring based on multidisciplinary approaches such as phylogenetics, gene expression, phenotyping and their integration using statistical models;

2) to understand speciation processes leading to improved phylogenetic systematic structure in Alternaria pathogens;

3) to explore potential links with wider fungal barcoding type initiatives.


Specific objectives are:

1) To identify phylogenetically informative loci exploiting comparative genomics of fungal sequence databases.

2) To analyse the presence and expression of pathogenicity-related genes in relation to host range/specificity and differentiate pathogenic and non-pathogenic forms

3) To characterise EC listed Alternaria pathogens originating from pome fruits and related pathogens from other important crops using molecular methodologies and phenotypic assays

4) To integrate genotype-phenotype data to define population-species boundaries and develop diagnostic methodologies, contributing to improved systematics