In mid-July a workshop entitled the 'Xanthomonas Genomics Conference' took place at the stunning location of Pingree Park, Colorado State University, USA. This meeting, which was supported this time round by United States Department of Agriculture and US National Science Foundation, was the third official workshop dedicated to the study of phytopathogens belonging to the species Xanthomonas. One of the major goals of this meeting was to discuss the insight that comparative analysis of Xanthomonas genomes has given both to an understanding of the ability of this important group of bacteria to exploit an extraordinary diversity of plant hosts and host tissues, and to the development of needed improvements in disease control and prevention. In this report we give an overview of recent developments in this field that were presented during the meeting. These highlights included the unveiling of eleven new Xanthomonas genomic sequences, structural and functional insights into the peptide Ax21 elicitor, the first description of small noncoding RNAs in Xanthomonas and the role they play in the regulation of virulence, as well as a description of novel type three-secreted effectors which target different hosts.
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