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A Bioinformatics Framework for plant pathologists to deliver global food security outcomes

Bellgard, M.I. and Bellgard, S.E. (2012) A Bioinformatics Framework for plant pathologists to deliver global food security outcomes. Australasian Plant Pathology, 41 (2). pp. 113-124.

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Bioinformatics applies information technologies to the allied fields of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, biotechnology, microbiology, plant physiology and molecular biology. Bioinformatics devises strategies for data management, analysis and integration tools that enable rapid scientific discovery and informed decision making. In plant pathology, the 'contemporary' application stage of bioinformatics is typically after a pathogen has been identified as a causative agent for a given plant host and subjected to biotechnological studies. In contrast, this paper contends that a broader bioinformatics framework should also integrate data/reports and interpretations/treatments as soon as potential pathogen incursions are encountered on a farm or forestry plot: capturing in real-time, elements of the incursion, sampling/survey, diagnostics, remedial treatments and field/laboratory work leading to the development of new cultivars or multiple disease resistance. Data currently captured/generated are managed in disparate formats: field/laboratory books, spreadsheets maintained independently by growers, extension officers and scientists, located in geographically disperse locations (e.g. farms, offices, institutions, archival repositories). Bioinformatics solutions provide the opportunity for a more coordinated electronic basis to manage/integrate this information. In this paper, a Bioinformatics Framework is proposed that enables improved cross-border, trans-discipline collaborative efforts that will enable more informed decision making by relevant stakeholders. In this way a shared biosecurity infrastructure can be developed that caters for sustainable global food and fibre production in the context of global climatic changes and increased opportunities for accidental disease incursions through the global plant trade.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Comparative Genomics
Publisher: Springer
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