Evolutionary Applications Issue 5.4 is now live!

5_4 coverEvolutionary Applications has now published issue 5.4. As for all the other 2012 issues, this issue is open access – free to read, download and share.

This issue contains two excellent papers on plant-pathogen interactions. The first of these is ‘Genetic structure and local adaptation of European wheat yellow rust populations: The role of temperature-specific adaptation’ by Mamadou Mboup and colleagues. Yellow stripe rust of wheat is a major concern for wheat farmers.  It’s typically thought that variation in the ability of this pathogen to infect different populations of wheat was due to genetic changes among strains of the rust.  This paper shows that differences in the environment can also play a key role in whether or not the rust can infect wheat populations.  

The second highlighted papers is ‘The Red Queen and the seed bank: pathogen resistance of ex situ and in situ conserved barley’ by Helen R. Jenson and colleagues. This paper addresses the question of whether it is more important to conserve crop plants on the farm or to store in a seed bank. Although it is seen that seeds conserved on the farm can adapt to changes in genetic strains of parasites, the authors argue that it might be important to store seeds away in a bank because the seeds may contain rare alleles that confer resistance to parasites that farm plants are no longer resistant to. Evidence is given to show that both predictions are seen.

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