Gene remedy

Published: Monday 15 September 1997

Dutch scientists have discovered a gene that makes plants resistant to nematodes, and are using it to develop transgenic worm-resistant crops. Every year the world loses about US $100 billion worth of crops to tiny pests that live in the soil and eat the roots of plants. Researchers at the Dutch Centre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research in Wageningen found a wild beet variety that resists the nematodes that eat domestic sugar beet. By identifying the wild beet chromosome that carried the nematode resistance, they were able to introduce different 'chunks' of DNA, using the bacterium Agrobacterium rhizofenus , into individual sugar beet roots in culture ( New Scientist , Vol 154, No 2084).

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