The Molecular Plant Pathology Best Student Paper prize for 2023 has been awarded to Monica Donegan, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, for her paper entitled ‘Parallel host shifts in a bacterial plant pathogen suggest independent genetic solutions’ (volume 24 pages 527–535, doi: 10.1111/mpp.13316).
An unresolved evolutionary question is whether parallel phenotypes occur through the same genetic solution. Two parallel host shifts occurred—in Brazil and Italy—in which Xylella fastidiosa adapted to infect olive trees. Rather than convergent evolution as shown for other bacterial pathogens, this work suggests that the two populations adapted to infect olive trees through independent genetic solutions. The work highlights that multiple mechanisms may drive pathogen outbreaks.
The work was supported by California Department of Food and Agriculture; Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico; Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisado Estado de São Paulo; Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.
The Plant Pathology Best Student Paper prize for 2023 has been awarded to Rachel Murray-Watson, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, for her paper entitled ‘Expanding growers’ choice of plant disease management options can promote suboptimal social outcomes’ (volume 72 pages 933–950, doi: 10.1111/ppa.13705).
The study primarily focuses on employing game-theoretic models tailored for growers. Using the tomato yellow leaf curl virus as a case study, it delves into incentivizing growers to adopt varied control options for attaining socially beneficial outcomes. Predominantly rooted in statistics, mathematics, and economic modelling, the paper showcases a tremendous amount of effort invested in its execution.
The work was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom.