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Chinese researchers use gene editing to combat wheat 'cancer'




A research team from China has employed gene editing technology to improve wheat resistance to stripe rust, an airborne fungal disease described as "cancer" for this crop.

The research team, led by Professor Wang Xiaojie from Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, in their 18-year-long study found a susceptible gene in wheat, named TaPsIPK1, which confers susceptibility to the stripe rust pathogen, with the results published online in the journal Cell in 2022.

A recent field experiment conducted by the team showed that the stripe rust resistance of the cultivar with edited TaPsIPK1 was enhanced from high susceptibility to medium or high resistance, and also revealed that this could be done without significant difference in yield.

Notably, the cultivar retained the agronomic traits of the original variety, showing great potential for application.

Going forward, the research team will work on wheat synchronous resistance to stripe rust, powdery mildew and gibberellic disease through gene editing.

This is an important step in efforts to achieve green and high-quality agricultural development and ensure food security, Wang noted.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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