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Archive for the ‘Host plant resistance’ Category

IMustapha KSU248hessfly_adultHessian Fly

Mustapha El-Bouhssini (MS ’86, PhD ’92) Aleppo, Syria, is a global authority on plant resistance to insects in grains and has worked to develop crop varieties resistant to several important arthropod pests.

He recently received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Branch of the Entomological Society of America for significant contributions to entomological research.

El-Bouhssini serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Entomology. This position has helped initiate collaborative projects between K-State and ICARDA on Hessian fly genetics and resistance in barley to the Russian wheat aphid.

From the KSU AgReport Spring 2015

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Mike smith  KSU251

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GM rice

thecropsitelogo

 

New GM Rice Shows Improved Disease Immunity
09 April 2015

 

 

US – Rice disease immunity can be improved by transferred genes from other species, according to new research from the University of California-Davis.

Rice is well equipped with an effective immune system that enables it to detect and fend off disease-causing microbes.

However, the new study showed that immunity can be further boosted when the rice plant receives a receptor protein from a completely different plant species via genetic engineering.

Lead author Benjamin Schwessinger, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology, said: “Our results demonstrate that disease resistance in rice, and possibly related crop species, could very likely be enhanced by transferring genes responsible for specific immune receptors from dicotyledonous plants into rice, which is a monocotyledonous crop.”

Immune receptors are specialised proteins that can recognise patterns associated with disease-causing microbes, including bacteria and fungi, at the beginning of an infection.

These receptors are found on the surface of plant cells, where they play a key role in the plant’s early warning system.

Some of the receptors, however, occur only in certain groups of plant species.

Mr Schwessinger and colleagues successfully transferred the gene for an immune receptor from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a member of the mustard family, into rice.

The rice plants that produced the Arabidopsis immune receptor proteins were more resistant to Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, an important bacterial disease of rice.

This demonstrated that receptors introduced to rice were able to make use of the rice plants’ native immune signalling mechanisms and cause the rice plants to launch a stronger defensive immune response against the invading bacteria.

– See more at: http://www.thecropsite.com/news/17505/new-gm-rice-shows-improved-disease-immunity/#sthash.p1mpfiJL.dpuf

 

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PHYS ORG

Mar 30, 2015

13-scientistsfi

Scientists find a gene to help protect potatoes from a blight that unleashed a devastating famine in Ireland in the 19th century.

 

Scientists on Monday said they have found a gene to help protect potatoes from a blight that unleashed a devastating famine in Ireland in the 19th century.

The genes were located after an exhaustive 10-year trawl through the genomes of wild potato varieties, according to their work, published in the journal Nature Plants.
Potato blight is caused by a pathogen known by its Latin name as Phytophthora infestans.
It has traditionally been described as a fungus, but closer inspection puts it in the same family as oomycetes, or water moulds.
P. infestans has a place in the history books as a mass murderer, inflicting a famine in Ireland in the 1840s that killed around a million people through starvation and disease and prompted around two million more to emigrate.
It remains a threat today. The blight inflicts billions of dollars annually in harvest damage to potatoes, the most important food crop after grains, and the disease is kept in check only through repeated chemical spraying.
The new study entailed a search for genes that trigger an immune response in potato plants, killing cells around the site of infection and thus limiting the spread of the disease.
The genetic treasure, called the elicitin response (ELR) gene, was found in a South American wild potato called Solanum microdontum, a native of Bolivia and Argentina.
ELR works in association with a key gene in the immune system, BAK1/SERK1, according to the researchers, led by Vivianne Vleeshouwers of Wageningen University in The Netherlands.
The researchers inserted the gene into the cultivated potato called Desiree, and found it was more resistant to several strains of blight.
ELR “could potentially enhance disease resistance to a number of oomycete plant pathogens, many of which are serious threats to a variety of crops and to world food security,” the paper said.
Explore further: Rediscovering Ireland’s rich history of wild plants​
More information: Nature Plants, DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2015.34
Journal reference: Nature Plants

© 2015 AFP
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-03-spuds-scientists-shield-potato-blight.html#jCp

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112146-3d926a8c-cecf-11e4-bd1f-b87f4e1d2505Gene therapy: Professor James Dale with genetically modified Cavendish bananas, which could hold the key to saving the Far North’s banana industry from Panama disease. Picture: QUT/Erika Fish

KIMBERLEY VLASIC

THE CAIRNS POST

MARCH 23, 2015 11:51AM

THE development of the world’s only “super bananas”, which could save the Far North’s $570 million industry from Panama disease, has been stalled by the Northern Territory Government.

Queensland scientists trialling genetically modified (GM) Cavendish bananas near Darwin have been served with an eviction notice as the Top End focuses on eradicating a different, less threatening fungus called “banana freckle”.

The decision delays their globally significant research on Panama disease Tropical Race 4 and could mean Far Northern banana growers will be waiting longer for a resistant variety to become commercially available.

Heidi Quagliata, the daughter of the Dingo Pocket banana farmer affected by TR4, wants authorities to prioritise the disease that has crippled her family’s business.

The Robsons’ 160ha property was quarantined this month after testing positive for TR4 in the first Australian case outside the NT.

Samples taken from other banana farms were yesterday cleared of the disease, while further testing has confirmed the strain of TR4 at the infected property to be the most common one.

“I don’t know much about banana freckle but they should both be on a high priority list,” Mrs Quagliata said.

“TR4 seems to be the one that stays around longer, so resources should be more focused on that.”

Banana freckle affects the leaves and fruit of banana plants, causing blemishes on the fruit reducing their value.

banana 112228-b30609f6-cef0-11e4-bd1f-b87f4e1d2505 (1)Eradication: Banana Freckle Response inspector and team leader Maurice Thompson (left) and team member Ronald Bond carry away one of the last banana trees in the Northern Territory Botanical Garden area. Picture: Ivan Rachman
A national biosecurity response is under way to eradicate the disease from the NT and Australia after a new strain that infects a wide range of varieties, including Cavendish, was found in 2013.

This involves destroying all banana plants, including the “super bananas” being trialled, from six heavily infected sites by next month.

“As far as I know, we’re the only group in the world that are developing GM bananas that could have resistance to TR4,” said Professor James Dale, director of the Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities.

“We completely understand the biosecurity plan to eradicate all bananas, if they can eradicate freckle that would be terrific.

“Banana freckle won’t wipe out the industry, whereas TR4 already has in the NT, but it really is a good idea to eradicate it, it’s just unfortunate timing with our field trial.”

Prof Dale and his team have transferred genes from a wild banana found in Indonesia and Malaysia to create the GM banana.

He said it could be released commercially in 6-8 years if trials were successful.

“We’re very pleased with the results so far and we’re going to do a final assessment at the end of April,” he said.

“We’ll probably have at least 12 months out of the ground and then hopefully, if freckle is eradicated, we’ll be able to go back and recommence field trials in the NT.”

Prof Dale ruled out moving trials to Tully Valley.

Australian Banana Growers’ Council chief executive officer Jim Pekin said the NT Government was acting on the “unanimous advice of all jurisdictions” in destroying the GM banana plants.

“The ABGC supports the Banana Freckle response plan and is aware that this will unfortunately delay research trials in the NT eradication zones,” he said.

Originally published as NT dashes ‘super banana’ trials

 

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Washington State University News
September 15, 2014
By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have found “the most famous wheat gene,” a reproductive traffic cop of sorts that can be used to transfer valuable genes from other plants to wheat.
The discovery clears the way for breeders to develop wheat varieties with the disease- and pest-resistance traits of other grasses, using a legion of genetic tools that can reduce crop losses and pesticide use while foregoing the cost, regulatory hurdles and controversy of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
“The real exciting part of this gene is that it has tremendous potential for application,” said Kulvinder Gill, a WSU professor, who reports his findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For some 35 million years, the wild ancestors of wheat routinely traded genes as they accidentally cross-bred with each other. But with the rise of agriculture and cultivated wheat 10,000 years ago, the plant’s genetic structure changed. Instead of being diploid, with two sets of chromosomes like humans and most other living things, it became polyploid, with, in the case of bread wheat, seven sets of six related chromosomes.
Starting in 1958, just five years after the discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure, researchers suspected that a specific gene controls the orderly pairing of wheat chromosomes during reproduction.
“If this gene was not present, there would be chaos in the nucleus,” said Gill. “Six chromosomes would pair with each other and sometimes five chromosomes would go to one cell and one to the other, resulting in a sterile plant. Because of this gene, wheat can be fertile. Without this gene, it would be more like sugar cane, where it is a mess in the nucleus and it can only be vegetatively propagated.”
But the gene also prevents wheat from breeding with related ancestors that can contain a vast array of traits preferred by growers.
“This gene would not allow rye chromosomes to pair with wheat,” said Gill. “We cannot get a single gene transfer into wheat as long as this gene is present.”
Interest in the gene, called Ph1, has spawned scores of research papers, making it what Gill called, “the most famous wheat gene.”
In 2006, British researchers writing in the journal Nature said they identified the gene.
“In this paper,” said Gill, “we show that their gene is not the Ph1.”
Knowing their findings would be controversial, Gill and his colleagues spent a year repeating the experiments that led to their conclusion. They are now moving on.
“Now that we have the gene, we can actually use that gene sequence to temporarily silence the gene and make rye and other chromosomes pair with wheat and transfer genes by a natural method into wheat without calling it GMO,” Gill said.
Their first effort involves transferring a gene from jointed goatgrass, a wild relative of wheat, to confer resistance to stripe rust. The fungus is considered the world’s most economically damaging wheat pathogen, costing U.S. farmers alone some $500 million in lost productivity in 2012.
While facilitated by technology, the actual exchange of genetic material is similar to what has long taken place in nature, only faster. Incorporating the gene transfer into the overall breeding process, researchers can develop a new variety in five years, said Gill.
“If we let wheat evolve for another few millions years in the wild, maybe it will develop enough variation, but we don’t have that kind of time,” said Gill. “We need to solve this problem today.”
Funding for the research came from WSU’s Vogel Endowment Fund. Other researchers were Ramanjot Bhullar, a WSU doctoral student and the paper’s lead author; Ragupathi Nagarajan, a WSU doctoral student; Harvinder Bennypaul of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Gaganpreet K. Sidhu, a WSU master’s graduate now at Columbia University; WSU doctoral student Gaganjot Sidhu; WSU assistant research professor Sachin Rustgi; and R.A. Nilan Distinguished Professor Diter von Wettstein.

Contact:
Kulvinder Gill, WSU professor, ksgill@wsu.edu, 509-335-4666

 

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http://www.scidev.net/global/nutrition/news/african-farmers-could-soon-grow-virus-resistant-cassava-1.html

[CAPE TOWN] Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, have successfully developed a strain of virus-resistant cassava, and now hope to train scientists in Africa to develop the technology in laboratories on the continent.

The study, which demonstrated that researchers can now generate transgenic farmer- and industry-preferred cassava, was published in PLOS One last month (25 September).

Herve Vanderschuren, the study’s lead author, and head of the cassava research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, said the research team had developed a new cassava variety that is resistant to cassava mosaic disease and cassava brown streak virus, an infection that makes cassava roots unpalatable.

These two major viral diseases reduce cassava production in large areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, cassava is currently the third most important source of calories in the tropics, after rice and maize, and more than 800 million people use cassava as a source of food and income generation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The new strain is drought tolerant and can grow in a range of agro-ecosystems — including less fertile soils — ensuring that when other crops fail, cassava can still be harvested.

“We are going to establish the technology in African laboratories, and have local scientists develop them there,” Vanderschuren told SciDev.Net.

Despite limited funding, the team were already transferring technology through funded trainings to laboratories in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, and were working to ensure that scientists in Africa were becoming adept at using it, Vanderschuren explained.

He said that empowering local laboratories could help change the views of some African governments on genetically-improved crops, as previously they had not been in a position to ‘own’ or monitor the technology, but now would be.

How soon the new cassava strain would be available to farmers was still not clear, Vanderschuren said, as key stages, including product development and local authority engagement, still needed to be undertaken.

On a wider level, Vanderschuren encouraged raising the level of debate to ensure improvements in the transfer of technology from North to South.

“If we are to guarantee that this technology spreads among scientists in Africa, researchers must share knowledge on genetically-modified cassava,” said Chrissie Rey, a professor of plant biotechnology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rey said all intellectual property rights owners should be engaged before the technology is rolled out to the farmers. Policy issues must be addressed and GM laws developed to ensure technology can be transferred smoothly into African contexts, she told SciDev.Net.

If these laws were established, she added, they would allow more trials and enable more results from varied field conditions

More field trials were needed to ensure the technology was robust, Rey concluded.

Link to full article in PLoS ONE

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