Final exam success
Chongjing (Robert) Xia from the Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University (WSU), recently completed all requirements for the M.S. degree. Xianming Chen was his major advisor, and Scot Hulbert and Deven See served on his supervisory committee. His thesis was entitled “Development of SP-SNP markers and use of them in studying population genetics and identifying markers associated to avirulence genes of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici”. He has developed 97 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers based on sequences of secreted protein (SP) genes of the wheat stripe rust pathogen. Using the SP-SNP markers, he characterized the fungal collections made in 2010 and 2011 in the United States, and discovered two major genetic lineages and admix groups in the U.S. population of the stripe rust pathogen. He found that the pathogen population in the western U.S. was more diverse than that in the eastern U.S., and detect spore migrations among various epidemiological regions in the western and eastern, especially between the southwestern U.S. and eastern regions. He identified SP-SNP markers significantly associated with some avirulence genes. Xia has received a Chinese Scholarship Council scholarship and is going to continue studying at WSU for a Ph.D. degree under Xianming Chen’s guidance.