African Journal of Biotechnology

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RNAi technology extends its reach: Engineering plant resistance against harmful eukaryotes

Jun-Hai Niu, Heng Jian, Jian-Mei Xu, Yang-Dong Guo, Qian Liu


RNA interference (RNAi) is a homology-dependent gene silencing technology that is initiated by double stranded RNA (dsRNA). It has emerged as a genetic tool for engineering plants resistance against prokaryotic pathogens such as virus and bacteria. Recent studies broaden the role of RNAi, and many successful examples have described the application of RNAi for engineering plant resistance against a range of eukaryotic organisms. Expression of dsRNA directed against suitable eukaryotic pathogens target genes in transgenic plants has been shown to give protection against harmful eukaryotic species, including nematodes, herbivorous insects, parasitic weeds and fungi. This review addresses the progress of RNAi-based transgenic plant resistance against these four class eukaryotic pests, as well as future challenges and prospects.

Key words: dsRNA, RNAi, crop resistance, biotechnology, nematode, insect, parasitic weed, fungus.

AJOL African Journals Online