Biotech Updates

GE Sweet Potato with Multiple Virus Resistance Developed

November 6, 2013

Several viruses cause a destructive synergistic disease complex to sweet potatoes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These viruses include Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV), Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus(SPCSV), Sweet potato virus G (SPVG) and Sweet potato mild mottle virus (SPMMV). To address this concern, researchers from University of KwaZulu-Natal developed transgenic sweet potato plants with broad virus resistance.

Coat protein gene segments from each of the four viruses mentioned were used to induce gene silencing in transgenic sweet potato. The apical tips of the sweet potato was transformed using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Polymerase chain reaction and Southern blot analyses showed that the transgenes were present in 6 out of 24 transgenic plants and that all plants seemed to correspond to the same transformation event. Further analyses showed virus presence in the transgenic plants but all exhibited delayed and milder symptoms of leaf discoloration as compared with the untransformed plants.

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