Biotech Updates

BREAD Grant Funds Research to Tackle Plant Viral Diseases

February 24, 2012

An international team of scientists led by Stewart Gray of the USDA-ARS received a three year grant to develop protein biomarkers that would facilitate identification of insects capable of transmitting viral disease. This Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) grant worth $868,896 from the National Science Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be utilized in the development of a test kit that farmers can use to identify virus insect vectors.

Viral diseases in plants are incurable and control of insect vectors would be one strategy to stop disease spread. Rampant use of insecticide has killed various insects including beneficial ones. Thus, once insect vectors have been identified through the use of this protein maker, growers can target particular insects with pesticides at a certain time in their life cycle.

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