Update on Resistance against Soybean Nematodes

(Dr. Harold Trick) The idea will be, when the nematodes go and feed on the roots of the soybeans, they will be ingesting these small molecules. These small molecules will target specific genes within the nematode and for gene silencing. If the genes are turned off, the nematode will either lose fitness or will reduce the reproduction. In conjunction with Tim Todd and our department, what we’ve done is we’ve looked at trying to enhance the soybeans for the resistance against soybean cyst nematodes. The way we did this was, we’re looking to actually turn specific genes off in a nematode. In order to do that, we create genetically engineered vectors. We put those into soybeans. Basically, this process is called RNA interference or RNAI. Basically, it’s a way to turn genes off or down to regulate them. We had to look for specific traits that we thought that was necessary for the nematode. Then after we found those specific genes in the nematodes, then we’d actually go about and create these vectors, specifically targeting those genes. This is a genetically engineered product. We put those into a specific line of soybean. After that point then what we need to do is take these traits and then move those over into Kansas adapted cultivars, so that we can then try to go out and deploy these in the fields eventually. What we’ve done is we then took the nematodes that were left on these transgenic soybean plants, we’ve actually ground them up, looked specifically at the genes and in the regulation, and we show that actually we do suppress those genes within those nematodes. We’ve also noticed that with some of these plants we have up to 85% reduction of nematodes.

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