White Pine Blister Rust (WPBR) is a fungus that mortally infects many 5 needle pines, including sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana). Resistance to WPBR in sugar pine is controlled by a single gene (qualitative) and a multi-gene (quantitative) pathway. Traditional methods for combating WPBR involve harvesting cones from potentially resistant trees, growing the seedlings in a nursery, then screening for resistant phenotypes through exposure to WPBR. This is a very time and cost intensive process which can be greatly improved using genomic tools. Instead, using the publicly available sugar pine genome, resistance within individual trees can be rapidly determined by genotyping the loci controlling resistance from the DNA of just a few needles. Our research is currently locating these regions in the genome. Once available, this diagnostic tool will allow forest managers to rapidly increase their response time to WPBR and improve overall forest health.


White Pine Blister Rust Genomics Team

University of California, Davis

David Neale

Northern Arizona University

Forest Genomics Lab

Amanda de la Torre

Matthew Weiss

US Forest Service

Dorena Genetic Resource Center

Richard Sniezko

John Hopkins University

Steven Salzberg

Daniela Puiu


Click here to download the sugar pine genome and transcriptome.


Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2017: Genetic Screening to Speed Up Search for Resilient Pines in Tahoe Forests.

The California Aggie, December 2, 2019: Reforestation of sugar pine trees in Lake Tahoe basin.

Participating Organizations