Gene editing approach aims for broad disease resistance in staple food crops

by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

A novel gene editing approach could hold the key to broad-spectrum disease resistance in certain staple food crops without causing physical detriment to the plants, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Dr. Junqi Song, AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Dallas, explores how a “knock-in” gene editing approach might achieve better disease resistance in a wide range of crop plants. Continue reading

Corn gene associated with disease resistance

from North Carolina State University via EurekAlert!

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to two and possibly three different plant leaf diseases.

In a paper published this week in Nature Genetics, NC State researchers pinpoint the gene – caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase – that seems to confer partial resistance to Southern leaf blight and gray leaf spot, and possibly to Northern leaf blight, a trio of diseases that cripple corn plants worldwide. Continue reading

Discovery of fungus genome could help save cacao trees

In USDA Agricultural Research Service news

By Jan Suszkiw

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have sequenced the frosty pod rot fungus genome. That advance could speed the development of cacao tree varieties that better withstand this costly blight.

The fungus that causes frosty pod rot disease, Moniliophthora roreri, occurs in most cacao-growing countries of Central and South America. Unchecked, the disease can destroy as much as 90 percent of the beans from which cocoa, cocoa butter, and ultimately chocolate are made. Continue reading

Disease resistance more important than yield potential, says Georgia specialist

In Southeast Farm Press

By Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia

It is a serious mistake in farming to choose high-yielding, susceptible crop varieties without carefully considering the benefits of resistant varieties to protect yield and reduce pathogen populations in fields. Entering 2016, growers have the opportunity to select seed and varieties that will help reduce and, in some cases, nearly eliminate threat from diseases and nematodes.

I have observed times where losses to diseases and nematodes in a field were directly linked to a decision to plant susceptible varieties when resistant varieties were available.

This article includes a photo gallery.

UK researchers identify key component in plant disease resistance

A team of University of Kentucky researchers led by plant pathologists Aardra and Pradeep Kachroo have discovered an important component in plants’ ability to resist bacterial and viral pathogens.

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UGA researchers taking part in soybean root-knot-nematode resistance program

In Southeast Farm Press

By Randy Mertens, University of Missouri

Scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of Missouri and the Beijing Genome Institute have teamed up to use next-generation sequencing to identify two genes — out of approximately 50,000 possibilities — that defend soybeans from damage caused by the root-knot nematode (RKN).

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Research helps stay ahead of diseases in crop production

Louisiana’s sub-tropical climate can present numerous challenges to agricultural producers. Numerous insects thrive in this environment and can prove difficult and costly to manage.

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