Biotech Updates

Host-induced Gene Silencing Confers Fusarium Disease Resistance in Wheat

March 25, 2015

Fusarium head blight (FHB) and Fusarium seedling blight (FSB) are devastating wheat diseases. The research team of Yu-Cai Liao from the Huazong Agricultural University in China studied the expression of RNA interference (RNAi) sequences from a Fusarium graminearum virulence gene, chitin synthase (Chs) 3b, to enhance wheat resistance.

Three RNAi constructs were found to silence Chs3b in transgenic F. graminearum strains. These were then expressed in two transgenic wheat lines. The transgenics exhibited high levels of resistance to FHB and FSB. The three RNAi present in the transgenic wheat efficiently down-regulated the Chs3b expression in the pathogen.

Results show that host-induced gene silencing of an essential fungal chitin synthase gene is an effective strategy for enhancing resistance in crop plants.

For more information on the study, read the full article on Wiley Online Library site.