Ecology - Viruses are serious pathogens of plants and present a constant threat to cultivation of crops and horticultural plants. Virus diseases are subject to changes from new viruses introduced or changes in existing populations due to climatic changes and agronomic interventions. The description of viruses infecting significant world crops and cultures- from genome structure to biological features - is a corner stone of the department's research activities. Disease etiology and virus description present the key to virus diagnosis and support the cultivation of healthy crops. More
Resistance - Virus resistance in plants is the only way to prevent the often serious yield losses from virus infections. Natural virus resistance in plants is the most durable form to fight against virus diseases but often the basis of genetic resistance in domesticated crops is narrow. Identification and assessment of virus resistance in plant genotypes is a major effort in collaboration with several laboratories around the world.
Introduction of virus resistance in plants by expression of virus derived genes, artificial microRNA and synthetic gene constructs presents a further option. More
Insect Vectors - Most plant viruses are transmitted by insect vectors with aphids and whiteflies spreading the most important virus diseases of world crops. The molecular mechanisms of virus acquisition, translocation and transmission are still poorly understood. Identification and functional characterization of vector proteins implicated in virus translocation and transmission processes is essential for the development of efficient virus control strategies. More