Crop Biotech Update

Mutated Garlic Gene Expressed in Rice Confers Resistance to Sheath Blight

March 2, 2016

Rice sheath blight caused by Rhizoctonia solani is one of the most devastating diseases of rice and is associated with significant reduction in rice productivity. A mutant variant of mannose binding Allium sativum leaf agglutinin (mASAL) was previously reported to exhibit strong antifungal activity against R. solani. A team from Bose Institute in India, led by Prithwi Ghosh, evaluated the mASAL gene for its in planta antifungal activity in rice plants.

mASAL was expressed in an elite indica rice cv. IR64 through Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Molecular analyses of transgenic plants confirmed the presence and stable integration of mASAL gene. Analysis of various tissue sections of plants indicated the expression of mASAL. In planta bioassay of transgenic lines against R. solani exhibited an average of 55% reduction in sheath blight percentage disease index (PDI).

This study presents the possibility of modifying rice plants with the mASAL gene for sheath blight resistance.

To learn more about the study, read the full article in BMC Biotechnology.