Research conducted by the Laboratory of Nematology is part of the research program of the Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS) and the C.T. de Wit Graduate School for Production Ecology & Resource Conservation (PE&RC).
The availability of the complete genome sequence of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita enables the identification of novel nematode effectors based on differences in evolutionary rates.
Our hypothesis is that effectors involved in parasitism are subject of positive, diversifying selection, resulting expanded gene families and hypervariable amino acid sites in proteins. By scanning the genome sequence for positively selected loci we identified several candidate effector genes of M. incognita.
The main objective of my project is to functionally characterize these effector candidates in tomato and arabidopsis.