Spinach is a healthy, leafy green vegetables. The Netherlands are a market leader in spinach breeding and export seeds all over the world. However, spinach cultivation is threatened by the rapidly evolving spinach downy mildew Peronospora effusa. Peronospora breaks newly introduced resistances at a high pace. Hence, our consortium of spinach breeders, the Utrecht University Bioinformatics group and TPB set out to investigate new knowledge-driven approaches to breed new, resistant spinach varieties. Resistant cultivars are needed to guarantee sustainable spinach farming.
The overall goal of this project is to first generate high-quality, complete genomes of Peronospora isolates. The new genomes will facilitate the identification of effectors, understand effector evolution, function, and significance for spinach infection. Here at TBP we focus on investigating the function of Peronospora effectors in the plant. To this end, we combine the power of transcriptomics analysis and bacterial effector-delivery platforms to complement initial bioinformatics centred genomics-methods.