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.

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 September 15, 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 September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. 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:
from the past week

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