Get updates on COVID-19 research at COVID-19 Resource
Crop Biotech Update

Wild Tobacco Plant can be a Key in Attaining Food Security

June 24, 2015

Dr. Stephen Wylie and his colleagues from Murdoch University identified a plant that can be essential in attaining food security.

In their study, the researchers were able to obtain the RDR1 gene from a wild tobacco plant (Nicotiana benthamiana) in Western Australia. RDR1 gene controls the viral response of N. benthamiana strains in different viral infections. Functional RDR1 that is present in wild strains of N. benthamiana shows milder symptoms upon viral infections, strains lacking it due to mutation shows severe viral symptoms. This finding indicates that the plant does not only respond to viruses, but also possesses genetic abnormalities.

This discovery can be applied to crops such as potato, tomato, capsicum, and eggplant. There are other roles that RDR1 gene can control due to its involvement in different developmental processes. Furthermore, N. benthamiana plants can thrive in wide range of dry, hot, and salt-laden environments indicating that there are other valuable genes present in the plant that can be useful in improving crops.

The full details of the article can be read at Science Network Western Australia's website.