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
Food for the city – from the city
03.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
How the forest copes with the summer heat
29.08.2018 | Universität Basel
The Fraunhofer FEP has been involved in developing processes and equipment for cleaning, sterilization, and surface modification for decades. The CleanHand Network for development of systems and technologies to clean surfaces, materials, and objects was established in May 2018 to bundle the expertise of many partnering organizations. As a partner in the CleanHand Network, Fraunhofer FEP will present the Network and current research topics of the Institute in the field of hygiene and cleaning at the parts2clean trade fair, October 23-25, 2018 in Stuttgart, at the booth of the Fraunhofer Cleaning Technology Alliance (Hall 5, Booth C31).
Test reports and studies on the cleanliness of European motorway rest areas, hotel beds, and outdoor pools increasingly appear in the press, especially during...
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
25.09.2018 | Life Sciences
25.09.2018 | Life Sciences
25.09.2018 | Life Sciences