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Genome Mapping Done to Combat Oak Killer

Science File | IN BRIEF

June 12, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Researchers announced Thursday they've completed the genetic blueprint of the blight-causing culprit responsible for sudden oak death, a plant disease that's wiping out forests and hurting nurseries across the country and especially in California. The $4-million effort funded by three federal agencies also produced the genetic sequence of a close cousin responsible for destroying millions of dollars' worth of soybeans each year.

The trick is to sift through the 15,000 genes of each pest in search of the one gene, or a combination of a few genes, that make the one-cell microbes so deadly to plants, as well as genes that will make them susceptible to pesticides.

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