The Genome Analysis Centre receives strategic funding from the BBSRC
The Plant and Microbial Genomics Team specialises in the application of genomic and genetic techniques to tackle a variety of biological questions in the fields of plant and microbial genomics. The team use a multidisciplinary approach, combining expertise in genomics, genetics, plant biology, cell biology and bioinformatics – often developing approaches based around novel molecular biology techniques. The team are fortunate to be able to collaborate with many other technical experts at TGAC, and biological system experts on the wider Norwich Research Park e.g. JIC, TSL, UEA and IFR.
Plants and microbes are fundamental to all ecological environments and indeed every agricultural system. Food security requires the continual improvement in the efficiency of agricultural systems so that we can meet the challenges of human population growth, climate change and plant pathogens which threaten yields. Improving the scientific understanding of how plants and microbes interact is therefore of utmost importance.
Strong selective pressures and short generation time lead to microbes overcoming genetic e.g. host resistances and synthetic approaches e.g. chemical treatments. By better understanding host-pathogen interactions, at the genetic level, we can design better approaches to swiftly diagnose, characterise and respond to emerging threats. The ability to overcome chemical treatments is exemplified by the rise of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that threaten our health, and that of our livestock. With collaborators the team are developing pipelines to rapidly identify novel antibiotics by from the genomes of new Actinomycetes bacteria species – a proven source of such compounds.