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Crop Biotech Update

Late Blight Resistant Potato Developed Using Cisgenesis Approach

June 4, 2014

The late blight in potato remains one of the most devastating diseases in potato production and resistance is a top priority in potato breeding. Cisgenesis, which is the introduction of native genes from a crop's own gene pool using GM technology thus retaining favorable characteristics, is a promising new approach to resistance potato breeding.

Cisgenesis was utilized to introduce two late blight resistance genes, Rpi-sto1 and Rpi-vnt1.1 from crossable species Solanum stoloniferum and Solanum venturii, respectively, into three different potato varieties. The first set of developed transgenics contained only one of the resistance genes. These were used as references for resistance levels. Another set of transgenics contained both of the resistance genes but without NPTII, the kanamycin resistance marker. These two sets of transgenics were evaluated via morphological evaluations, responsiveness to Avr genes and late blight resistance. Eight cisgenic events from the second set showed broad spectrum late blight resistance due to the activity of both resistance genes.

This marker-free transformation system is less genotype dependent and less prone to vector backbone integration as compared to marker-assisted transformation. Thereby, it provides an important tool for the successful deployment of resistance genes in agriculture and contributes to the production of potentially durable late blight resistant potatoes.

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