Crop Biotech Update

Bacterial Speck Resistance Developed in Tomato Using CRISPR-Cas9

September 19, 2018

Developing disease resistance in tomato is a trade-off between pathogens feeding on living cells (biotrophs) and those feeding on dead cells (necrotrophs). Scientist Robert Solano from Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia in Spain and colleagues utilize CRISPR-Cas9 to confer bacterial speck resistance in tomato without compromising susceptibility to necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that causes tomato gray mold.

The research team targets SlJAZ2, a gene similar to Arabidopsis AtJAZ2, which is involved in preventing the stomatal opening caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pto) DC3000, the pathogen that causes bacterial speck disease. The gene-edited tomatoes show stomatal opening prevention and resistance to the pathogen. At the same time, the transpiration rate and resistance to B. cinerea are retained. Thus, the method is found effective in creating resistance in tomato.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.