UROP Project

Comparison of powdery mildew genomes towards understanding their origin and evolution



Daniel Holder

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90695


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP International
Organisation unit:
Institute for Biology I, Unit for Plant Molecular Cell Biology
Language Skills:
fluency in English


The powdery mildew disease is a ubiquitous plant pest that causes severe losses in agriculture. Cereal powdery mildews, called Blumeria graminis, are well-known for infecting crops such as wheat, rye and barley, and dicot-infecting powdery mildews affect for example grapevine (Erysiphe necator). However, while the crop powdery mildews have been studied for decades, powdery mildews in non-agronomical environments have been neglected despite their importance in understanding the evolution and origin of the pathogen. We collected powdery mildew-infected field maple and Norway maple leaves and identified these as two Sawadea sp, which represent a powdery mildew lineage not previously studied. Sawadea species diverged early from the other powdery mildews and their genomes will help understanding how these species co-evolved with their host plants. We generated whole genome shotgun sequencing data in order to perform comparative genomic analysis with published powdery mildew genomes. In order to fill the gap, we will collect powdery mildew samples from diverse trees and shrubs found in the Aachen forest and urban area. The material will be used for whole genome shotgun sequencing and/or nanopore MinION long read sequencing, genome assembly and annotation. Using the acquired datasets, we will perform comparative genomic analysis with published cereal powdery mildew genomes (B. graminis f.sp. tritici, B. graminis f.sp. hordei) as well as representative dic


The student will isolate RNA from Sawadea and perform RNA sequencing. They will use the genome sequencing data to generate draft genome assemblies. The student will then annotate the genomes and perform detailed comparison with all other powdery mildew genomes available.


Basic experience in methodologies of molecular biology (laboratory work). Basic knowledge of unix command line usage is useful but not required (will be taught).