Home • Phytophthora ramorum v1.1

Phytophthora ramorum, photo courtesy of Matteo Garbelotto, UC Berkeley

Phytophthora is a genus of the Oomycetes (water molds) which, through convergent evolution, have similarities to fungi. However, oomycetes are not fungi (as had been earlier thought), but are part of Stramenopiles, a kingdom distinct from plants, fungi, and animals that also includes diatoms and golden-brown and brown algae, such as kelp.

Fifty-nine species of Phytophthora are recognized. They attack hundreds of different plant species, including many crops, costing tens of billions of dollars in damage per year. Genome sequencing efforts at JGI have focused on two species, Phytophthora sojae and P. ramorum. P. sojae has been developed as a model species for the genus, having in place excellent genetic and genomics resources (including genetic maps, BAC libraries, and EST sequences), as well as having a well organized community of researchers. The particularly virulent P. ramorum is now destroying coastal oaks in California (causing "Sudden Oak Death"), attacks black oak, shreve oak, and tan oak, as well as a variety of shrubs that inhabit the oak ecosystems, and threatens the oak forests in the Sierra Nevada and, potentially, the red oak forests of the east coast.

Publication: (2006) Phytophthora Genome Sequences Uncover Evolutionary Origins and Mechanisms of Pathogenesis. Science. 313, 1261-1266.