Biotech Updates

Sweet Pepper Hrap Gene Improves Resistance to Banana Xanthomonas Wilt

October 8, 2010

Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW), caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. Musacearum, is the most destructive disease of banana especially in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The fast expansion of the bacterium affected the livelihood of millions of Africans banana growers and consumers. The disease can affect all banana varieties, such as the Each African Highland bananas, and the exotic types. Since there is no trait for resistance to BXW in bananas, scientist Leena Tripath of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, and colleagues evaluated the expression of the hypersensitivity response-assisting protein (Hrap) gene from sweet pepper for its ability to resist BXW. Two banana cultivars (Sukali Ndiizi and Mpologoma) were inserted with the Hrap gene to form transgenic lines and then exposed to the bacterium. Results showed that six out of the eight transgenic lines did not show any symptoms of BXW, while the nontransgenic lines that served as control showed severe symptoms that led to wilting. Thus, the expression of sweet pepper Hrap gene in banana results in improved resistance to BXW.

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