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Genetics of Tree-Parasite Interactions


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Field Tour
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Field tour

Genetics of Tree-Parasite Interactions

Novel challenges and opportunities for resistance to pests and pathogens


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Novel challenges and opportunities for resistance to pests and pathogens

Pests and diseases slideshow

© INRA / Université d'Orléans

Because they are long-living organisms, trees have evolved strategies to face a large variety and number of challenges to their health.

However, the process of adaptation takes many generations, lagging far behind the pace at which new threats have been appearing or evolving since the 19th Century.

Both climate change and globalization are making trees more prone to disease. Some parasites like the Woolly poplar aphid (Phloemyzus passerinii) or the Pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) are expanding their range while some others are invading new continents or new hosts.

Phytophthora on oak

Major pest and disease outbreaks such as Dutch Elm disease (Ophiostoma novo ulmi), canker of Sycamore (Ceratocystis platani), Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) and European Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) have increased public awareness that some tree species can become extinct or very rare in a small period of time.

The scientific community is urged to provide sustainable long-term strategies for keeping trees healthy, the most straightforward being to select/promote/breed resistant material.

Because Phytopathologists, Entomologists, Geneticists, Evolutionary Biologists, Breeders and Managers need to work hand-to-hand to save our trees !

Genetic variation is the raw material of adaptation, so genetic variation in the host has to be quantified, understood and exploited. But what holds for the hosts holds for the parasites also. Sustainable strategies can only arise from a better understanding of the genetically-based interactions between the host and the parasite, from the cell to the landscape.

Forest Observers

Consequently, the rationale behind this series of workshops is to create an interface (i) between all scientific disciplines contributing to a better understanding of the genetics of tree-parasite interactions and (ii) between science and management.

Processionnary caterpillars on Pinus

The main topic will be forest trees, but any contribution on ornamental or fruit trees will be warmly welcomed also, both models sharing the same constraint of long generation times.

Although the different sessions of the workshop will be decided by the Scientific Committee based on the submitted contributions, the main topics will be:

  • Resistance / tolerance and virulence / aggressiveness mechanisms
  • Breeding and management strategies for durable resistance in a changing environment
  • Host-parasite co-evolution
  • Novel host-parasite interactions due to emerging or non-native pests and pathogens
  • Population genetics of pests, pathogens and vectors.
  • New frontiers in tree-parasite interactions: from genes to landscape and communities

Click here to access the previous edition's Website (Eugene, OR, USA, July 31 - August 5, 2011)