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  • We are conducting research to identify biotic and abiotic factors responsible for causing root rot on soybeans, and to estimate potential yield losses caused bysoybeanroot rot. A large component of this study is focused on indentifying the complex of Fusarium species that are pathogenic on soybeans and identify their contribution to reduced soybean productivity. We are also analyzing the relationshipsbetween soil pH, SCN density and root rot severity.

  • The goal of this project is to identify components of partial resistance to soybean rust by conducting detailed epidemiological studies on the infection process and disease progress over time. One of the objectives of the study is to determine if leaves of different ages vary in their susceptibility to infection by the soybean rust pathogen. This project is in collaboration with the North Florida Research and Education Center of the University of Florida.

  • We are working on several projects focused on identifying sources of soybean resistance to SDS. In one project we are searching for soybean genes involved in resistance to the SDS pathogen using a virus-induced gene silencing approach. This is part of a multistate project funded by the United Soybean Board to use high-throughput gene silencing to identify genes involved in resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses of soybeans.  In another project funded by the Iowa Soybean Association, we are using a modified screening method to identify genetic loci associated with soybean root resistance to the SDS pathogen.

  • This project focuses on clarifying the mechanisms behind the interaction between the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and the SDS pathogen. We are comparing the infection process of Fusarium virguliforme alone and in the presence of SCN to understand if the interaction between the two pathogens is mechanical and localized, or systemic in nature. This is part of a multistate project with the goal ofidentifying rhizosphere organisms and soil abiotic factors that interact with F. virguliforme in causing SDS.

  • We are characterizing the genetic variability of F. virguliforme populations in Iowa using a range of molecular methods, and evaluating the relationship of genetic variation with aggressiveness on soybean. We are also developing realtime PCR tools to detect and quantify the SDS pathogen in soil and we are conducting a survey of the pathogen in Iowa soils.

  • Several of our projects focus on understanding how the sudden death syndrome (SDS) pathogen, Fusarium virguliforme, causes disease on soybeans. We have been investigating the root infection process, and determining how soil temperature and plant growth stage at time of infection affects the development of the disease. We are also comparing the susceptibility of soybean plants of different genetic backgrounds to pathogen toxins.