Scientists have mapped the DNA of bacteria found within a chronic disease affecting grapevines, a feat they hope will ultimately help protect the multibillion-dollar grape industry that produces juice, jelly, wine, and other important products.
Researchers including several Rochester Institute of Technology faculty and alumni sequenced the microbiome found within tumors of grapevines afflicted with crown gall disease. The study spanned four continents and sheds light on the complex interaction between the grapevine and its microbial community, which could lead to better management of the crown gall disease in the future.
"The research is important given that the Finger Lakes region is such a large producer of wine," said Professor André Hudson, head of RIT's Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences. "Crown gall disease is caused by the plant pathogen Allorhizobium Vitis and is one of the most debilitating diseases of grapes that impacts production and quality."
The disease occurs when bacteria infect grapevines at the crown of the plant, where the root and the shoot meet.