Strategies for transgenic nematode control in developed and developing world crops
Nematodes cause an estimated $118b annual losses to world crops and they are not readily controlled by pesticides or other control options. For many crops natural resistance genes are unavailable to plant breeders or progress by this approach is slow. Transgenic plants can provide nematode resistance for such crops. Two approaches have been field trialled that control a wide range of nematodes by either limiting use of their dietary protein uptake from the crop or by preventing root invasion without a direct lethality. In addition, RNA interference increasingly in tandem with genomic studies is providing a range of potential resistance traits that involve no novel protein production. Transgenic resistance can be delivered by tissue specific promoters to just root tissues where most economic nematodes invade and feed rather than the harvested yield. High efficacy and durability can be provided by stacking nematode resistance traits including any that natural resistance provides. The constraints to uptake centre on market acceptance and not the availability of appropriate biotechnology. The need to deploy nematode resistance is intensifying with loss of pesticides, an increased need to protect crop profit margins and in many developing world countries where nematodes severely damage both commodity and staple crops.
► Transgenic crops can improve plant nematode control and replace harmful pesticides. ► Antifeedant cystatins and behaviour-disrupting synthetic peptides provide control. ► RNA interference offers future resistance without novel protein production. ► Uptake of biosafe resistance would benefit agribusiness and developing world needs. ► Constraints to uptake centre on market acceptance of available biotechnology.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 23, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 251–256