RNA interference: A novel tool for plant disease management
AbstractPlant diseases pose a huge threat to crop production globally. Variations in their genomes cause selection to favor those who can survive pesticides and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops. Though plant breeding has been the classical means of manipulating the plant genome to develop resistant cultivar for controlling plant diseases, the advent of genetic engineering provides an entirely new approach being pursued to render plants resistant to fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. RNA interference (RNAi) technology has emerged to be a promising therapeutic weapon to mitigate the inherent risks such as the use of a specific transgene, marker gene, or gene control sequences associated with development of traditional transgenics. Silencing specific genes by RNAi is a desirable natural solution to this problem as disease resistant transgenic plants can be produced within a regulatory framework. Recent studies have been successful in producing potent silencing effects by using target doublestranded RNAs through an effective vector system. Transgenic plants expressing RNAi vectors, as well as, dsRNA containing crop sprays have been successful for efficient control of plant pathogens affecting economically important crop species. The present paper discusses strategies and applications of this novel technology in plant disease management for sustainable agriculture production.
Keywords: Plant disease, RNA interference, transgene, management
African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 12(18), pp. 2303-2312