Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 2, 2002
Publication Date: June 24, 2002
Citation: Rajasekaran, K., Cary, J.W., Jacks, T.J., Cleveland, T.E. 2002. Genetic Engineering for Resistance to Phytopathogens. In: Rajasekaran, K., Jacks, T.J., Finley, J.W. editors. Crop Biotechnology. American Chemical Society Symposium Series No. 829. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. p. 97-117. Technical Abstract: Transgenic crops have been developed to combat both insect (e.g. use of Bt gene containing crops) and microbial pathogens. Insect resistant, Bt-gene containing varieties of major crops such as corn, cotton, and soybean have made a huge impact in U.S. agriculture and around the world. However, no fungal resistant crops have yet been deregulated for commercial use in spite of numerous field tests. Disease resistance has received limited attention because of several reasons. The molecular biology of host plant-pathogen interaction is very complex, depending upon single gene or multigenic (quantitative or polygenic) resistance mechanisms and they differ among different races of the same pathogen and different varieties of the same crop species. Quite often, plant defense responses involve the activation of a cascade of multiple, coordinated, and apparently complementary responses. This review article highlights recent advances in ngenetic engineering that have been made in several crop species for the purpose of controlling plant pathogens, including the fungal genera, such as Fusarium and Aspergillus, that cause food and feed safety concerns due to mycotoxin contamination. Promising technical breakthroughs in genetic engineering technology, as well as potential antimicrobial proteins and peptides that have been reported in the scientific literature, have been identified in this review.