Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases, study shows

Date:
May 5, 2011
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Researchers have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to three important plant leaf diseases.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a specific gene in corn that appears to be associated with resistance to three important plant leaf diseases.

Related Articles


In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NC State plant pathologists and crop scientists pinpoint the gene -- glutathione S-transferase -- that seems to confer resistance to Southern leaf blight, gray leaf spot and Northern leaf blight, a trio of diseases that cripple corn plants worldwide.

Finding out more about the mechanisms behind complex traits like disease resistance can potentially help plant breeders build the best traits into tomorrow's corn plants, says paper co-author Dr. Peter Balint-Kurti, a research plant pathologist and geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS) who works in NC State's plant pathology and crop science departments.

The NC State researchers joined lead author Dr. Randy Wisser, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, and other researchers from the University of Delaware, Cornell University and Kansas State University in examining 300 diverse maize varieties from across the globe which are, on average, as different from one another as humans are from chimpanzees. Using these diverse varieties of corn allowed the researchers to zero in on the regions of the genome responsible for conferring resistance to the three diseases -- and thus to varieties that are very resistant to disease.

"We tested the lines for resistance to these three diseases and found that if a line is resistant to one disease, chances are it's also resistant to the other two," Balint-Kurti says.

The researchers then delved into the question of why this multiple resistance occurs.

"One hypothesis was that if a corn variety has resistance genes for one disease, it is likely to also have resistance genes for the others," Balint-Kurti says. "The other hypothesis was that the same genes conferred resistance to multiple pathogens. Our evidence suggests that the latter hypothesis is more likely. In particular, we have developed good evidence that a specific gene, a member of a gene family called glutathione-S-tranferases, is associated with resistance to all three diseases."

Southern corn leaf blight is a moderate problem in the southeastern United States, Balint-Kurti says, and can be a significant problem in Southeast Asia, southern Europe and parts of Africa. Prevalent in hot, humid climates across the globe, it causes small brown spots on leaves. The spots get larger and eventually spread to the whole plant. Severe infections can cause major corn yield losses. Northern leaf blight can be found in the Midwestern corn belt; it causes cigar-shaped lesions on leaves. Gray leaf spot -- which produces an eponymous effect -- is found both in the Midwest and Southeast. All three pathogens are so-called necrotrophic fungi, or fungi that kill what they eat.

Balint-Kurti says the study provides "one of the most comprehensive analyses of multiple disease resistance in plants."

The research was funded by USDA-ARS, the National Science Foundation, CGIAR Generation Challenge Program, the N.C. Corn Growers Association, and USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. R. J. Wisser, J. M. Kolkman, M. E. Patzoldt, J. B. Holland, J. Yu, M. Krakowsky, R. J. Nelson, P. J. Balint-Kurti. Multivariate analysis of maize disease resistances suggests a pleiotropic genetic basis and implicates a GST gene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011739108

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505142615.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2011, May 5). Corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505142615.htm
North Carolina State University. "Corn gene provides resistance to multiple diseases, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505142615.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
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