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Pathology research - Investigations into the biology of tree diseases

Detailed study of the biology of a disease is often essential to determine its likely impact and future course.

Example: Dutch elm disease

A virus-infected culture of Ophiostoma novo-ulmi
A virus-infected culture of Ophiostoma novo-ulmi

Dutch elm disease has been a major topic of investigation in pathology for more than 20 years.

The research has not only enabled predictions to be made about the future for elm in this country but has led to major changes in our understanding of the behaviour of tree pathogens that have moved (under the influence of man) from one part of the world to another.

There have been advances in our knowledge of the ecology of tree pathogens. Thus it was found that the fungus that causes Dutch elm disease itself suffers from a virus infection. This could open the way to biological control.