CIP Attempts to Identify RNA Silencing Code to Avoid Plant Viruses
The International Potato Center (CIP) has implemented an RNA silencing project that aims to reduce the time of plant virus elimination from one year to far less. This is by cracking the RNA silencing code that will enable them to add modified RNA to a test tube − and in a simple, one-step process, rid the plant of viral infection.
At present time, removing virus from an infected plant takes considerable time and money. The process takes almost a year while the cost of the operation is more than $500 thus searching for a more cost-effective and time saving solution is essential.
Plants can defend themselves against viruses using a class of small RNAs called small interfering RNA (siRNA). The siRNA recognizes the viruses and destroys them by cutting their DNA or RNA into tiny pieces. This process is called RNA silencing. However, since plants' defense mechanism cannot suffice to some strong viruses, scientists will add bullets (siRNA) to plants' defense arsenal.
If successful, Dr. Kreuze and his team will produce "kits" containing appropriate cocktails for different crop viruses. Initially, the project will be tested on potato. However, the technique can also be applied to a wide range of viruses and crops.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)