Biotech Updates

KSU Gets Patent for Method to Control Plant Nematodes in Soybean

November 26, 2010

"Compositions and Methods for Controlling Plant Parasitic Nematodes" developed by four Kansas State University researchers recently received an invention patent. Led by Harold Trick, professor of plant pathology, the researchers genetically engineered soybean with specific traits to control soybean cyst nematodes. The destructive disease causes an annual loss of US$860 M to farmers in the U.S.

"What we did was target genes that we thought would be vital for the nematode to survive," Trick said. "If we could turn these nematode genes off, we essentially can kill the nematode and provide the plant with protection."

By controlling three genes namely, MSP or Major Sperm Protein, Chitin synthase, and RNA Polymerase II, researchers were able to halt the reproduction of the nematodes. "With this technology -- it may not be the genes under the patent, and it may be other genes that we find or someone else finds -- we're hoping to produce plants with durable resistance to parasitic nematodes," Trick said.

View the Kansas State University press release at