Forest scientists at the University of British Columbia believe they've discovered the root cause of a deadly tree fungus: extra genes.
The fungus, Mycosphaerella populorum (earlier known as Septoria musiva), uses extra genes to produce a toxin that can cause fatal lesions on the leaves, stems and branches of poplar trees. The extra genes were found through genome sequencing, the mapping of an organism's DNA.
The discovery of their existence, outlined in a study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings researchers one step closer to fully understanding how the fungus attacks and kills poplar trees.
Read the full UBC press release and access the full published study.