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Watery relatives of crop pathogen P. syringae discovered in rivers

Summer’s here, and many vacationers face the question of where to spend these halcyon days: by the water or in the country? The plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae may be in the same predicament, according to a new paper released by mBio. Morris et al. examined the genetic diversity and traits of 236 strains of P. syringae from 11 sites in the USA, France and New Zealand. They showed that the strains of P. syringae shake out into three genetic ecotypes: a crop-specific type, a water-specific type, and an abundant ecotype found in both habitats. But location isn’t everything: overall, the genetic structure of P. syringae populations in water was not significantly affected by geographic location, indicating that P. syringae in water “get around”, most likely via transport with the water cycle.

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