Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetically modified spuds beat blight

Date:
February 24, 2014
Source:
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Summary:
Results of three-year field trial to test whether potatoes engineered to recognize blight can withstand races of blight in the UK have been released. In this study, genetically modified Desiree potatoes survived, while 100 percent of non-GM ones were infected. The trial was conducted with Desiree potatoes to address the challenge of building resistance to blight in potato varieties with popular consumer and processing characteristics. In northern Europe, farmers typically spray a potato crop 10-15 times, or up to 25 times in a bad year. Scientists hope to replace chemical control with genetic control.

In a three-year GM research trial, scientists boosted resistance of potatoes to late blight, their most important disease, without deploying fungicides.

The findings, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and The Gatsby Foundation, will be published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on 17 February.

In 2012, the third year of the trial, the potatoes experienced ideal conditions for late blight. The scientists did not inoculate any plants but waited for races circulating in the UK to blow in.

Non-transgenic Desiree plants were 100% infected by early August while all GM plants remained fully resistant to the end of the experiment. There was also a difference in yield, with tubers from each block of 16 plants weighing 6-13 kg while the non-GM tubers weighed 1.6-5 kg per block.

The trial was conducted with Desiree potatoes to address the challenge of building resistance to blight in potato varieties with popular consumer and processing characteristics.

The introduced gene, from a South American wild relative of potato, triggers the plant's natural defense mechanisms by enabling it to recognize the pathogen. Cultivated potatoes possess around 750 resistance genes but in most varieties, late blight is able to elude them.

"Breeding from wild relatives is laborious and slow and by the time a gene is successfully introduced into a cultivated variety, the late blight pathogen may already have evolved the ability to overcome it," said Professor Jonathan Jones from The Sainsbury Laboratory.

"With new insights into both the pathogen and its potato host, we can use GM technology to tip the evolutionary balance in favor of potatoes and against late blight."

In northern Europe, farmers typically spray a potato crop 10-15 times, or up to 25 times in a bad year. Scientists hope to replace chemical control with genetic control, though farmers might be advised to spray even resistant varieties at the end of a season, depending on conditions.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is continuing to identify multiple blight resistance genes that will difficult for blight to simultaneously overcome. Their research will allow resistance genes to be prioritized that will be more difficult for the pathogen to evade.

In a new BBSRC-funded industrial partnership award with American company Simplot and the James Hutton Institute, the TSL researchers will continue to identify and experiment with multiple resistance genes. By combining understanding of resistance genes with knowledge of the pathogen, they hope to develop Desiree and Maris Piper varieties that can completely thwart attacks from late blight.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwich BioScience Institutes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. D. G. Jones, K. Witek, W. Verweij, F. Jupe, D. Cooke, S. Dorling, L. Tomlinson, M. Smoker, S. Perkins, S. Foster. Elevating crop disease resistance with cloned genes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 369 (1639): 20130087 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0087

Cite This Page:

Norwich BioScience Institutes. "Genetically modified spuds beat blight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224110015.htm>.
Norwich BioScience Institutes. (2014, February 24). Genetically modified spuds beat blight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224110015.htm
Norwich BioScience Institutes. "Genetically modified spuds beat blight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224110015.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

Jane Goodall Warns Great Apes Face Extinction

AFP (July 29, 2014) The world's great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man's closest relatives are not wiped out. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
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