Page One

Genome to be mapped

By Andrew Bridges
Saturday October 19, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Scientists in California and Virginia will try to decode the genetic makeup of two plant-destroying microbes, including one blamed for killing tens of thousands of oak trees along the West Coast. 

Backed by $4 million in federal grants, the scientists hope to sequence the genomes of the two species of Phytophthora. The most notorious of the pair is P. ramorum, which causes Sudden Oak Death syndrome. 

With the genomes in hand, scientists expect they will be able to develop the means to track, detect and, eventually, treat both diseases. 

P. ramorum has killed tens of thousands of black oak, coast live oak and tan oak trees in northern California and southern Oregon since it first appeared in 1995.