The invention, "Compositions and Methods for Controlling Plant Parasitic Nematodes," was developed by four K-State researchers: Harold Trick, professor of plant pathology; Timothy Todd, an instructor of plant pathology; Michael Herman, associate professor of biology; and Judith Roe, former assistant professor of biology.
The researchers focused their work on the soybean cyst nematode, a destructive parasite that attacks the roots of soybean plants. Farmers across the country lose nearly $860 million every year because of the nematode. Kansas isn't exempt from the parasite: Todd said that every eastern and south central Kansas county that produces soybeans has soybean cyst nematodes.
"Trying to solve the problems with soybean cyst nematodes would be huge and very beneficial to U.S. farmers," Trick said. "Getting a handle on it is important."
Through genetic engineering, the team engineered soybean plants with specific traits, so that when nematodes feed on the roots they ingest these traits that turn off specific nematode genes.
"What we did was target genes that we thought would be vital for the nematode to survive," Trick said. "If we could turn these nematode genes off, we essentially can kill the nematode and provide the plant with protection."
For the patent, the research targeted three genes: MSP, or Major Sperm Protein, which causes nematode sperm to move; Chitin synthase, the gene that helps form the eggshell on nematode offspring; and RNA Polymerase II, which is vital for RNA production.
By controlling these three genes, researchers were able to halt the reproduction of the nematodes and saw a 68 to 70 percent reduction in the presence of soybean cyst nematode. The team was also careful to prevent any negative off-target effects, or ways that the altered genes could negatively affect the soybeans or animals and humans who ingest the soybeans.
While the patent is very valuable for soybean production, it has also opened the way for further beneficial research. Since the work on the patent, Trick and Todd have continued similar research on 20 different kinds of gene sequences in other plant and nematode species. They are taking the same method of destroying the soybean cyst nematode and applying it to nematodes that affect plants such as wheat, tomatoes and pineapples.
Trick and Todd have been supported in their research by funding from the Kansas Soybean Commission and the United Soybean Board. They are in the process of filing for additional patents for some of their inventions.
"With this technology -- it may not be the genes under the patent, and it may be other genes that we find or someone else finds -- we're hoping to produce plants with durable resistance to parasitic nematodes," Trick said.
The patent is the eighth patent that K-State has received this year. It was issued earlier this year to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, or KSURF. The foundation is a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing the technology transfer activities of the university.
The research foundation is working with the National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization, known as NISTAC, to license the patent, said Marcia Molina, foundation vice president. NISTAC is involved with the expansion of technology-based, high growth enterprises and helps with the commercialization of intellectual property from K-State researchers.
Harold Trick, 785-532-1426, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Trick | Newswise Science News
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences