GMO plants produce antibiotic to fight off deadly bacterial infection—without harming environment

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Image: University of Glasgow

Scientists from the University of Glasgow have discovered a safe and novel method that can safeguard important crops from the widespread bacterial disease Pseudomonas syringae (Ps). The results of their study are published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

The researchers genetically modified (GM) plants to produce a protein antibiotic or bacteriocin throughout their lifetime. The bacteriocin is expressed by a harmless soil-living bacteria related to the Ps strain. The GM plants were then able to successfully defend themselves from bacterial infection without environmentally damaging effects.

Ps infects a wide range of crop species worldwide including tomato, kiwifruit, pepper, olive, soybeans, and fruit trees. Plant diseases result to massive economic losses, specifically around 15% of global crops annually (estimated worth of $150 billion), a third of which is due to bacterial diseases like Ps.

Related article:  Viewpoint: How postmodernism birthed Europe's anti-GMO movement

Read full, original article: Crop Biotech Update December 18, 2019

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