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 September 19, 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 September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
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