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Lukas Hunziker

Doctor of Philosophy, (Genetics)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Effector delivery and effector characterisation in Dothistroma needle blight of pines

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Dothistroma needle blight is the most important worldwide disease of pine trees. Despite management measures, it persists in many regions. The blight is caused by Dothistroma septosporum, a fungus similar to other well-studied pathogens. These pathogens use effectors, small secreted molecules, to facilitate the infection of specific plant hosts in a variety of ways. Plants can recognise specific effector proteins, resulting in a resistance response. Mr Hunziker investigated potential effector genes in D. septosporum using bioinformatics and a series of plant experiments. This was one of the first of this type of study for a forest pathogen. He discovered some proteins that are recognised by model plants and developed methods to test them in pines. The results contribute to the understanding of how forest pathogens work and may ultimately provide crucial information about disease immunity, and its likely durability, in both pine breeding and natural forests.

Professor Rosie Bradshaw
Dr Rebecca McDougal
Dr Carl Mesarich

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