Perspectives of biotechnology in the management of plant-parasitic nematodes
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Many laboratories worldwide are involved in the research on effective prevention and management of plant parasitic nematodes. Chemical control of these parasites is very costly and harmful to the environment, though the main strategy is to use resistance genes in breeding programs of crop plants. There is a limited number of naturally occurring resistance genes. Biotechnology can extend the usage of known resistance genes by transferring them to related and unrelated species via plant transformation. However, most promising is the development of new resistance strategies based on RNA interference or specific and inducible overexpression of nematocidal genes. Functional analysis of nematode and plant genes that are involved in induction and development of feeding structures can significantly help in engineering of new sources of resistance. Obviously, biotechnology is not the only prospective solution; however, it significantly enriches the breeders' toolbox. On the other hand, biotechnology-based pest management methods have been developed until recently, and often there are some shortcomings associated which require more research and optimization. Moreover, there is a permanent poor acceptance of genetically modified crops especially in Europe, which influences the decisions of policy makers. Nevertheless, recent genome scale experiments promise significant acceleration in the research and create a portfolio of numerous new possibilities.
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Joanna Dabrowska, Katedra Genetyki, Hodowli i Biotechnologii Roslin, Wydzial Ogrodnictwa i Architektury Krajobrazu, Szkola Glowna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego w Warszawie, ul. Nowoursynowska 159, Warszawa, Poland