Origin and Evolution of Phytopathogenic Bacteria
from: Plant Pathogenic Bacteria: Genomics and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Robert W. Jackson). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)
Plant pathogenic bacteria impact innumerable and valuable agricultural crops, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage each year. Understanding their evolution is paramount to establishing and effecting practical disease management strategies to reduce or prevent their reproduction and spread. This chapter provides an overview of the evolution of plant pathogens, considering their phylogenetic distribution, and the genetic and evolutionary factors that have contributed to their emergence. The importance of secretion systems as pathogenicity determinants is considered, with examples from a diverse array of characterized plant pathogens. Also addressed are the evolutionary constraints experienced by generalist and specialist pathogens, the ecological factors that determine their relative success, and the coevolutionary arms race that develops between specialist pathogens and their hosts. Finally, several case studies of recurrently emerging pathogens are presented, which not only illustrate the incredible evolutionary potential of phytopathogenic bacteria, but also the major contributions of anthropogenic factors to emerging infectious diseases read more ...