Plant Coevolution with Pathogens
The Karasov Lab studies the coevolution of plants and their pathogens. Plants produce a variety of compounds to defend against pathogens and herbivores. This project specifically focuses on how bacterial pathogens have evolved to evade plant chemical defenses. The questions we wish to address include: 1. What plant compounds inhibit pathogen growth? 2. Is sensitivity to these compounds dependent on pathogen strain? 3. How have these compounds influenced pathogen evolution? These questions will be explored through microbial experimentation and genetic analysis. It is a great project for students who wish to learn fundamental microbiology lab techniques and begin thinking about the genetics behind evolution. Undergraduate students working on this project will grow various bacterial pathogens with plant defensive compounds giving them the opportunity to learn microbiology lab techniques and statistical analysis. Future directions of this project include analyzing genetic information to better understand what genes are responsible for a given pathogen’s resistance or susceptibility to a compound.