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Poster: Biology & Disease Mgmt: Genetics of Resistance


Exploiting the approaches of biotechnology in sweetpotato for virus diseases resistance
Y. MENG (1), Y. Meng (2), C. Zhang (2), V. Njiti (2) (1) Alcorn State University, U.S.A.; (2) Alcorn State University, U.S.A.

Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.; Convolvulaceae), a plant widely grown in all tropical and subtropical areas, is among the 10 most important food crops worldwide. As a crop produced by vegetative propagation, “cultivar decline” due to viral infections significantly reduces sweetpotato yield and storage root quality. In the United States, Sweet potato feathery mottle virus (SPFMV) and Sweet potato leaf curl virus (SPLCV) are two of the most prevalent sweetpotato viruses that cause devastating diseases and yield reductions. Even though resistance to virus infections remains the most cost effective way of disease management, to date, immune resistance to these viruses has not been identified in I. batatas. In this study, we explored a novel biotechnological method to develop transgenic sweetpotato plants with resistance to these two viruses. We engineered part of coat protein (CP) gene of SPFMV and the replication origin region of SPLCV into a binary vector for Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation for transgene expression. The SPFMV CP gene and SPLCV replication origin sequence are designed in antisense for the optimal induction of RNA silencing in transgenic sweetpotato. Research results showed that expression of foreign genes has been achieved by using Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA105 harboring the expression cassette. Investigations on transgenic plant regeneration and resistance to virus infection under control conditions will be discussed.