Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Clustering Helps Rice Plants Fight Pathogens

Date:
June 9, 2003
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
When a plant's resistance genes – or genes that recognize and decide how to fight a disease or pathogen – cluster together, it gives those genes the best chance to successfully repel the pathogen. Clustering apparently allows resistance genes to recombine in order to face the ever-evolving attacks of pathogens.

When a plant's resistance genes – or genes that recognize and decide how to fight a disease or pathogen – cluster together, it gives those genes the best chance to successfully repel the pathogen. Clustering apparently allows resistance genes to recombine in order to face the ever-evolving attacks of pathogens, says North Carolina State University's Dr. Ralph Dean, professor of plant pathology, director of the Center for Integrated Fungal Research and co-author of a new research paper that describes the sequencing of the rice genome's chromosome 10. The paper appears in the June 6 issue of the journal Science.

Learning more about a plant's defense mechanisms – how it recognizes and fights the mutating pathogens – can help save crops like rice, the major food staple for about half the world's population, from pathogen attack.

Dean and an NC State colleague, Hua-Quin Pan, senior bioinformatics scientist, searched for and characterized resistance genes and downstream pathways likely involved in the resistance response.

Dean and Pan found 43 different resistance genes on chromosome 10, which contains a total of 3,471 genes, according to the Science paper.

"We found a variety of different types of resistance genes; some were novel and some were well known," Dean says. "The most interesting thing was that most were grouped in three major clusters that were quite similar."

Dean believes this clustering helps rice improve its specificity of resistance to pathogens. In other words, resistance genes form clusters and then recombine forces in order to repel specific harmful advances from pathogens.

Dean says finding out more about these resistance genes' functions will aid the rice plant's battle to defend itself.

"Identifying and characterizing these resistance genes – particularly these clusters – will give us a very good idea of how they change their specificities to different pathogens, specifically rice blast."

Rice blast, an important and powerful rice disease, is a major focus of Dean's lab. Dean and colleagues from the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research sequenced the rice blast genome last summer.

Dean calls the ever-evolving battle between rice and pathogens "a constant arms race."

"Pathogens mutate to bypass resistance mechanisms, while the host, rice, recombines various components in resistance genes so it can again recognize pathogens. These resistance genes are like generals in a battle who recognize what's going on with the enemy and then tell the troops downstream to fight the pathogen."

A consortium of eight different groups – the rice chromosome 10 sequencing consortium – representing various universities and institutes worked together to sequence and characterize chromosome 10. The Science paper chronicles a high degree of collinearity between rice and two other major cereal crops – sorghum and maize – providing further evidence that rice can be a model for cereal crop research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Gene Clustering Helps Rice Plants Fight Pathogens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030609011126.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2003, June 9). Gene Clustering Helps Rice Plants Fight Pathogens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030609011126.htm
North Carolina State University. "Gene Clustering Helps Rice Plants Fight Pathogens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030609011126.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins