Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Tom M. Hammond


Fusarium verticillioides is a filamentous ascomycete that is both a plant endophyte and pathogen, causing disease during any life stage of the plant. When F. verticillioides grows in maize the fungus can synthesis a number of mycotoxins including the fumonisins, which have been linked with human esophageal cancer and neural tube associated birth defects. In an attempt to control fumonisin production our lab is searching the genome of F. verticillioides for a selfish genetic element known as Spore killer. The plan is simple; we envision creating a bio-control strain capable of harnessing the genetic transmission-distorting properties of Spore killer to modify the genetic structure of agricultural populations of fungi by linking the Spore killer element with the gene cluster responsible for fumonisin production that has been deleted or is deficient in the ability to synthesize the mycotoxins. In the case of F. verticillioides, this could allow us to target fumonisin synthesis in an agricultural population and limit the contamination of agricultural products. Here I present the necessary steps toward cloning and characterizing the locus that causes spore killing in F. verticillioides.


Imported from ProQuest Pyle_ilstu_0092N_10532.pdf


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