Dr Rubella Goswami's group at NDSU works on several aspects of diseases affecting dry bean and pulse crops in the North central region. Currently, the focus of the program is on identification of causal agents of new and existing economically important diseases, study of the biology of these pathogens, resistance screening for breeding lines and new germplasm and analysis of host pathogen interaction at the genomic level.
These goals are met using a combination of molecular and classical methods. Fungal identification is regularly conducted by microbiological techniques involving plating, microscopy and inoculation which are further confirmed by analysis of DNA sequences. DNA arrays and PCR based screening is also used to aid in diagnosis of new and emerging diseases and pathogens. Research on devising new methods for quick and efficient pathogen identification is conducted. Screening of existing cultivars for resistance to various pathogens and development of root rot resistant lines of dry beans is another area of research presently being pursued.
This work also involves efforts for identification of molecular markers associated with disease resistance that can be used for marker assisted selection of breeding lines. Analysis of gene expression during infection and disease development is an aspect of particular interest for this group. This aims at identification of pathogenicity and resistance genes in the fungus and host respectively. Findings from this research can be further used as the basis for designing control measures. Apart from laboratory based research, members of the group are also actively involved in conducting disease surveys and research on improved management practices.