Scientists from Université Laval, the University of British Columbia and the University of Oxford have discovered a natural resistance gene against spruce budworm in the white spruce. The breakthrough, reported in The Plant Journal, paves the way to identifying and selecting naturally resistant trees to replant forests devastated by the destructive pest.
A research team composed of professors Éric Bauce, Joerg Bohlmann and John Mackay as well as their students and postdocs discovered the gene in spruces that had remained relatively undamaged by a local budworm outbreak.
The scientists compared the genomes of the more resilient trees and those that suffered substantial damage. "We measured expression levels of nearly 24,000 genes in the two groups of trees, explains Professor Mackay. We discovered a gene, betaglucosidase-1, whose expression in the needles of resistant spruce trees is up to 1,000 times higher than in non-resistant trees."
Postdoctoral scientist Melissa Mageroy then produced the protein encoded by the gene. Tests showed that the protein plays an essential part in chemical reactions resulting in the production of two compounds that are toxic to the budworm, piceol and pungenol, identified in 2011 by a research team supervised by Dr. Éric Bauce. "We could say the gene we discovered produces natural insecticides in the tree foliage," sums up Dr. Mackay.
The resistance gene is present in all white spruces, but is expressed to varying degrees. "Theoretically, we could create white spruce stands that are less vulnerable to the budworm by reforesting areas with plantings from trees with a high expression of the resistance gene," says postdoctoral fellow and study coauthor Geneviève Parent.
Université Laval and University of British Columbia researchers have partnered with Quebec's Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to evaluate applications of their discoveries.
The spruce budworm is a moth whose caterpillar feeds primarily on balsam fir and white spruce needles. It is the most devastating insect to coniferous stands in Eastern North America. The last major outbreak that took place between 1970 and 1990 caused an estimated loss of half a billion cubic meters of wood in the province of Quebec alone, roughly the equivalent of 15 years of harvesting. Since 2003, the total affected forest area has been increasing steadily. Related caterpillars are affecting other types of conifer trees across Canada.
The study's coauthors are: Geneviève Parent, Gaby Germanos, Isabelle Giguère, Nathalie Delvas, Halim Maaroufi, and Éric Bauce (Université Laval); John Mackay (Université Laval and University of Oxford); Melissa Mageroy and Joerg Bohlmann (University of British Columbia). The research was supported by Genome Canada, Genome Québec, Genome British Columbia, the iFor Research Consortium and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Jean-François Huppé | EurekAlert!
Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Information Technology
24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences