Navigation Links
Potato blight plight looks promising for food security

Over 160 years since potato blight wreaked havoc in Ireland and other northern European countries, scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) finally have the blight-causing pathogen in their sights and are working to accelerate breeding of more durable, disease resistant potato varieties.

Using pathogen genomics, Professor Paul Birch from the Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee (at Scottish Crop Research Institute - SCRI), alongside researchers from Warwick HRI and the University of Aberdeen, is looking at how the most significant potato pathogen, Phytopthora infestans causes disease and identifying essential pathogen virulence genes that may be durable targets for host resistance proteins.

Costs associated with crop losses and chemical control of blight exceed 3billion globally each year. Professor Birch, explained: "What we have seen is an evolutionary arms race between a pathogen and its host and, so far, the pathogen has been winning."

However, this looks set to change as a result of greater understanding of the role of so-called effector proteins, which are secreted by the pathogen and go onto manipulate the plant cell structure, defences and metabolism to establish disease.

The discovery of more than 500 genes encoding these effectors, along with recent advances in technology to study protein-protein interactions provides an unparalleled opportunity to investigate how plant defences are suppressed by invading microbes.

Within these effector proteins, Professor Birch and his colleagues have discovered a genetic motif - RXLR, which is necessary for the P. infestans pathogen proteins to enter the potato cells.

"We are really excited by the discovery of RXLR. This has provided a signature to search for proteins that are delivered inside host cells, where they may be exposed to plant defence surveillance systems," said Professor Birch.

The scientists hope that their understanding of how effectors interact with their targets in the host will lead to novel strategies to control or prevent crop losses and environmental damage for a wide variety of plant diseases, not just potato blight.

Commenting on the research, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Doug Kell, said: "Potatoes are the third most important food crop in the world, but blight continues to devastate crops worldwide, having huge economic and dietary ramifications. This exciting research highlights the invaluable role that genomics has to play in preventing crop losses in potatoes and other crops and helping to address the urgent issue of global food security."


Contact: Tracey Jewitt
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Related biology news :

1. Purple sweet potato means increased amount of anti-cancer components
2. Plants are political hot potatoes
3. Low level herbicide use can damage potato reproduction
4. Potatoes may hold key to Alzheimers treatment
5. Green potato health risk can be eliminated by cutting away affected area
6. Can you be born a couch potato?
7. Drought tolerance in potatoes
8. Using DNA, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato
9. New research to decode the genetic secrets of prolific potato pest
10. New research to help fight widespread potato disease
11. Sweet potato shines as new promise for small enterprise and hunger relief in developing countries
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the ... entry into the automotive market with a comprehensive and ... of consumer electronics human interface innovation. Synaptics, industry-leading touch ... the automotive industry and will be implemented in numerous ... , Japan , and ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... PARK, Calif. , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI ... $9 million to provide preclinical development services to the ... the contract, SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing ... wide variety of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. ... new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned ... the Department of Health and Human Services guidance for ... in 2010. --> ... it also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... , November 27, 2015 ... Growing popularity of companion diagnostics is ... cancer biomarkers market with pharmaceutical companies and ... companion diagnostic tests. . ... Complete report on global cancer biomarkers ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an ... loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be ... as defined in Section 382 of the Code. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York ... encouraged to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior ... software.  A replay of the presentation will be available ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 The Global Genomics ... professional and in-depth study on the current state ... ) , The report ... definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The ... markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: