Opportunity to develop disease-resistant crops ‘has never been greater,’ plant pathologists say

soy
The first gene-edited soybean is here—many more crops are on the way

Approaches to manipulating disease resistance in plants is expanding exponentially due to advances in our understanding of plant defense mechanisms and new tools for manipulating the plant genome. The application of effective strategies is only limited now by adoption of rapid classical genetic techniques and the acceptance of genetically engineered traits for some problems.

The use of genome editing and cis-genetics, where possible, may facilitate applications that otherwise require considerable time or genetic engineering, depending on settling legal definitions of the products. Nonetheless, the variety of approaches to developing disease resistance has never been greater.

Success of many of the advances in engineering disease resistance in crop species, of course, depends on societal acceptance of various approaches to plant genome modification …. Modification of transgenic classifications, for example, the concept of cisgenics (allowing the addition of genes from a crossable species) as opposed to transgenics (the addition of a gene or genes from a non-crossable species), may increase the workable space in crop modification.

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Regardless of regulatory issues, our understanding of plant resistance mechanisms has increased considerably in the last five years, and new insights into defenses against resistance that incorporate abiotic and other physiological pathways of plants will undoubtedly be forthcoming. The discoveries will inform mutational and traditional breeding strategies in the absence of adoption of gene transfer or gene editing technologies and help meet the future needs for food output for a growing world population and climate-challenged food production system.

Read full, original article: Recent advances in developing disease resistance in plants

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