Pests and Diseases, Research

Late blight breakthrough

sum15_lateblight_2There may be a new weapon in the fight against one of the world’s most devastating potato diseases — late blight. Scientists from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Sainsbury Laboratory at Norwich Research Park in England say they’ve identified a resistant gene that fights against new strains of the oomycete disease. The wild potato gene targets elicitin, a pathogen protein that performs an important biological function. This make makes it less likely for the late blight pathogen to evolve and evade resistance. The scientists found that transferring ELR, the elicitin resistance gene, into cultivated potato made it more resistant to several strains of late blight, opening up new possibilities for breeding a broad and durable resistance into various potato varieties, increasing food security and reducing the use of fungicides. More

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