The BRIGIT transdisciplinary consortium involves scientists across the spectrums of genomics, social sciences, plant pathology, entomolgy, molecular biology and ecology across 10 institutions:
BRIGIT will build UK capability to understand and prevent xylella introduction to the UK through the following:
Co-design, crowd sourcing and knowledge exchange
BRIGIT will provide information about the botany of plant hosts for X. fastidiosa and their typical symptoms of infection in plants. Open access databases on insect vector distributions, taxonomy and genome sequence data will be made available online for wider audiences.
Enhancing diagnostic capabilities
This will improve various aspects of detection of X. fastidiosa in plants and insect vectors. Fera science Ltd will co-ordinate work within BRIGIT on targeted sampling and diagnostic sensitivity for more reliable detection of the bacteria in diverse plant and tree species. New diagnostic techniques will be explored to rapidly detect sources of introduction.
Investigating insect vector biology
This will generate a better understanding of the biology of the estimated 20 xylem-feeding insect species that may transmit X. fastidiosa in the UK. The geographic distribution of these insect species and the plant species they colonise across Europe will be investigated. Genetic population structures of these species will be captured to identify insect migration routes between habitats and across the UK.
X. fastidiosa epidemiology modelling
This will generate models for fine and large-scale dispersal of X. fastidiosa via insect vectors and plant transport. This will include a human behaviour component to investigate the effects of human movement of plants on disease spread. This will inform surveillance and control strategies
BRIGIT comes from the Celtic goddess of sovereignty, ‘Guardian of the Land’. The name ‘Britain’ is derived from her name.
The name BRIGIT (as in bridge-it) also relates to emphasise the projects goals to form connections between (1) three diverse organisms (plants, animals (=insects) and bacteria), (2) 10 UK research organisations, (3) three research councils, (4) among scientists, stakeholders and policy makers; (5) between UK and Europe.