Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover natural resistance gene against spruce budworm

24.11.2014

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!
Further information:
http://www.ulaval.ca/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>