Science Questions

Are we modelling pathogen evolution?

Sun, 16th Oct 2011

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Question

Jen, Cambridge asked:

Modelling the disease spread sounds incredible. Are scientists also modelling potential pathogen mutation to stay ahead of the game in terms of cultivar diversity?

Answer

Chris -   That's a very important question.  I hope Jen too means that its credible as well as incredible work that goes on!  It becomes very important to think if you are going to introduce genetic resistance or a chemical form of resistance to a pest or a pathogen what's the pest or pathogen going to do?  There will be strong selection pressure on the pest or pathogen to overcome that form of resistance or that form of chemical control.  That's exactly what were including in our models the evolutionary changes.  And so then, trying to predict what is the pathogen going to do next and get ahead.

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