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The Virome of Armillaria as Natural Defense against the Root-Rot Disease

 

Climate change will have consequences on the survival and spread of pests. Of concern are soil-borne Armillaria fungi, which cause root-rot disease in forests and in urban green spaces. Though often underestimated in urban areas, infections have risen in frequency since the 90s and management tools are urgently needed to protect shade proving trees against urban heat intensification. Mycoviruses can alter the fungal virulence and act as natural biological control agents against pathogens. This project will screen the virome of Armillaria isolates to identify viruses that are deleterious to pathogenic Armillaria. Our group hosts an Armillaria collection from Swiss landscapes, enabling us (i) to screen the virome of native Armillaria strains by next generation sequencing, and (ii) to identify hypovirulence inducing viruses for practical use to control the root-rot disease.