Phytophthora cinnamomi is one of the most devastating plant pathogens in the world. It infects close to 5,000 species of plants, including many of importance in agriculture, forestry and horticulture. Inadvertent introduction of P. cinnamomi into natural ecosystems, including a number of recognised Global Biodiversity Hotspots, has disastrous consequences for the environment and biodiversity of flora and fauna. The genus Phytophthora belongs to the Class Oomycetes, a group of fungus-like organisms that initiate plant disease through the production of motile zoospores. Disease control is difficult in agricultural and forestry situations and even more challenging in natural ecosystems, due to the scale of the problem and the limited range of effective chemical inhibitors. Development of sustainable control measures for future management of P. cinnamomi requires a comprehensive understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of pathogen development and pathogenicity. The application of next-generation sequencing technologies to generate genomic and transcriptomic data promises to underpin a new era in P. cinnamomi research and discovery. The aim of this review is to integrate bioinformatic analyses of P. cinnamomi sequence data with current knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of P. cinnamomi growth, development and plant infection. The goal is to provide a framework for future research by highlighting potential pathogenicity genes, shedding light on their possible functions and identifying suitable targets for future control measures. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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