Crop Biotech Update

Chinese Researchers Improve Biotic Stress Tolerance of Cotton

June 13, 2024

Crop pests and diseases pose significant challenges to cotton productivity and fiber quality. A study published in New Phytologist explores the role of Gossypium Pigment Gland Size (GoPGS) as a novel regulator of pigment gland development of cotton. Their findings contribute to the development of gene-edited cotton with enhanced tolerance to the major biotic stressors.

Pigment glands synthesize and store various terpenoids that naturally resist insects and pathogens, such as cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae. Several genes have been identified as regulators of pigment gland development in cotton. However, there are still limited studies that understand the regulatory networks of pigment gland development.

The study reveals that silencing GoPGS reduces the number of pigment glands in the leaves and stems of cotton, but the size of the pigment glands has significantly increased. The researchers further knocked out GoPGS through CRISPR-Cas9 technology which exhibited similar results to GoPGS-silenced plants. The results also showed a lower disease index of GoPGS-silenced plants to V. dahliae infection, and disrupted growth of bollworm.

For more information, read the article from New Phytologist.

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