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Twenty Years of Transgenic Plants Resistant to Cucumber mosaic virus

June 2008 , Volume 21 , Number  6
Pages  675 - 684

Marco Morroni,1,2 Jeremy R. Thompson,1 and Mark Tepfer1

1Plant Virology Group, ICGEB Biosafety Outstation, Via Piovega 23, 31056 Ca' Tron di Roncade, Italy; 2Istituto di Patologia Vegetale, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy

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Accepted 4 February 2008.

Plant genetic engineering has promised researchers improved speed and flexibility with regard to the introduction of new traits into cultivated crops. A variety of approaches have been applied to produce virus-resistant transgenic plants, some of which have proven to be remarkably successful. Studies on transgenic resistance to Cucumber mosaic virus probably have been the most intense of any plant virus. Several effective strategies based on pathogen-derived resistance have been identified; namely, resistance mediated by the viral coat protein, the viral replicase, and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Techniques using non-pathogen-derived resistance strategies, some of which could offer broader resistance, generally have proven to be much less effective. Not only do the results obtained so far provide a useful guide to help focus on future strategies, but they also suggest that there are a number of possible mechanisms involved in conferring these resistances. Further detailed studies on the interplay between viral transgene-derived molecules and their host are needed in order to elucidate the mechanisms of resistance and pathogenicity.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society