Crop Biotech Update

Genes that Resist White Rust Pathogen Found

February 13, 2019

Plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, mustard, and Brussels sprout may have different tastes, but they have a common enemy: white rust. One kind of white rust, caused by the pathogen Albugo candida threatens cabbages. Though not actually a fungus, A. candida acts like one and spreads under the right conditions of humidity and temperature, eating up the nutrients of the plants it attacks.

A team of researchers from eight European universities and research centers headed by Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich has identified four genes that are resistant to A. candida. These genes are nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) immune receptor that was identified using Arabidopsis thaliana. An additional gene was identified that confers resistance to an isolate of A. candida race 9 that infects Brassica oleracea.  The paper reports that immunity conferred by NLR genes provides species-wide resistance to the pathogen.

For more details, read the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.