story to find out more.
Cousins inoculates a grape seedling with an aggressive root-knot nematode
strain. Resistant seedlings are candidates for use as rootstocks. Click the
image for more information about it.
A Second Nematode-Foiling Gene Found in Grape
Plants By Luis
Pons April 17, 2006
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) studies on grape genetics have
uncovered a second gene that helps grape plants resist root-knot nematodes
The finding came during research led by ARS plant geneticist
Cousins on the gene known as N that naturally protects the grape
plants against the nematodes. Cousins works at ARS' recently established Grape
Genetics Research Unit (GGRU)
in Geneva, N.Y
Specifically, Cousins and colleagues studied a type of grapean
accession of Vitis mustangensis called DVIT1842that fends off a
new strain of root-knot nematode that is able to overcome the natural defenses
of other grape rootstocks. These aggressive nematodes are putting an economic
strain on many grape growers, particularly in California.
Laurie Boyden, a Cornell
University doctoral student working with Cousins, made the discovery that
the source of DVIT1842's resistance to nematodes wasn't just a variation of the
N gene, but was a different gene altogether.
According to Boyden, this finding may make it possible to breed both
of the nematode-resisting genes into the same rootstock, a strategy that could
provide better protection for grapes if the two genes act in different ways or
if their interaction makes them more effective.
The nematode-resistance study is one of many ongoing projects at GGRU,
whose scientists work to improve grapes through characterization and deployment
of genes. Other topics under investigation there include grape color, fungal
diseases and the genes involved in ripening, flowering, bud break and leaf
The goal of the nematode work is development and introduction of
rootstocks that are both resistant to the tougher nematodes and adaptable to
California viticulture, according to Cousins.
The work by Cousins and his colleagues began when Geneva grape
genetics research was conducted in the Plant Genetic Resources Unit.
about this research in the April 2006 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.