Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene Gives Plants a Unique Defense against Disease

31.10.2001



Researchers have put a new face on what may be an old genetic weapon to help plants fight off a pesky infection. Abhaya Dandekar and colleagues at the University of California at Davis gave plants an extra gene that protected them from crown gall disease—a scourge of the walnut, grape and rose, among others—when tested in the lab. They publish their findings today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When the bacterium that causes crown gall disease enters a plant, it starts producing two proteins that help the bug multiply—a phenomenon that leads to cancer in the host. In order to give plants a fighting chance, the researchers engineered strains of the thale cress and the Moneymaker breed of tomato to produce RNA molecules that would inhibit the disease-causing genes. (The tomato pictured here did not come from a plant engineered in this experiment.) Almost all of the transformed plants remained tumor-free after infection with their bacterial foe. This so-called gene-silencing approach, in which one RNA molecule zippers onto a target RNA and shuts it down before it can become a protein, may in fact be an ancient plant defense against certain viruses, Dandekar says. "This whole area is going to provide new ways to combat plant disease," he predicts.

The crown gall bacterium should find it difficult to rapidly evolve a way around the silencers, the team reports, because the tumor-causing genes are very similar in different strains and would have to change drastically to become resistant. There is also little chance of the resistance genes spreading, Dandekar explains, because the roots and tops of crop plants are typically fused together from different strains, with the roots containing any genetic alterations. The plants could still spread the bacterium, though, the authors note. And like all genetic approaches, Dandekar adds, this one cannot help a field already infested with the disease

J. R. Minkel | Scientific American

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Structure of a mitochondrial ATP synthase
19.11.2019 | Science For Life Laboratory

nachricht Mantis shrimp vs. disco clams: Colorful sea creatures do more than dazzle
19.11.2019 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structure of a mitochondrial ATP synthase

19.11.2019 | Life Sciences

The measurements of the expansion of the universe don't add up

19.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Ayahuasca compound changes brainwaves to vivid 'waking-dream' state

19.11.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>