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Crop Biotech Update

Rice Pathogen Gene Enhances Soybean's Resistance to Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot

March 13, 2019

Phytophthora root and stem rot (PRR) is a devastating disease in soybean caused by Phytophthora sojae, a soil-borne water mold. P. sojae races are highly diverse and variable, thus controlling it is very challenging. Scientist from Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China reported successful introduction of harpinXooc-encoding hrf2 gene from rice bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola in soybean which improved resistance to P. sojae. The results are published in Transgenic Research.

Molecular tests confirmed the expression of hrf2 in transgenic soybean plants. After exposure to P. sojae, the non-transgenic control plants showed PRR symptoms such as necrotic and wilting leaves, and plant death; while the transgenic plants had slight chlorotic leaves but with normal development. In the T3 to T5 generations, the transgenic plants exhibited milder PRR symptoms and higher survival rates than the control. The transgenic plants also exhibited significant upregulations of plant defense-related genes such as salicylic acid- and jasmonic acid-dependent and hypersensitive response-related genes. Non-transgenic and transgenic plants that were not exposed to P. sojae had so significant differences in agronomic characteristic.

Based on the results, hrf2 expression in transgenic soybean significantly improved the resistance of soybean to P. sojae.

Read the research article in Transgenic Research.