Title: Genomics applications to plant defense research and crop pest management Author
Submitted to: Journal of Biotechnology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2008
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Plant-insect interaction is a complex and dynamic process, leading to a variety of beneficial and deleterious outcome. Mechanisms of plant defense against insect attack, including constitutive and induced defenses, have been evolving for millions of years and are therefore shared across many plant families. Understanding of the interactions and the host defense mechanisms, such as the insect genes required for attacking and the plant genes responsible for defense can be utilized to design crops with enhanced resistance. Research in life sciences at the post-genomics age is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation, and genomic approaches are beginning to revolutionize our understanding of plant defense. These sophisticated genomic tools, including genome sequencing, gene expression profiling, functional annotation etc., are already applied to examine the complex process of plant and pest interactions. Genome sequencing projects of a few crops, including rice and sorghum, have been completed. The resulted genetic blueprints provided by DNA sequences will allow the identification of genes involved in host defense and regulatory factors that control the induction of resistance genes. Molecular mapping has permitted locating chromosomal regions encoding the resistance to insects and identifying genetic markers enabling more efficient plant breeding or genetic manipulation. These successful samples highlighted the recent progress in the studies of plant-insect interactions and provided valuable data on the genome structure of host plants and the diversity of defense mechanisms used by plants to protect themselves from insects. However, our understanding of gene function remains behind the pace of genome sequencing and gene discovery. Over the next ten years, further progress and new breakthroughs are anticipated through integrated biology studies and the use of newly genomics tools; then the resulting new knowledge will lead to the development of more durable resistance traits for crop plants and novel strategies for crop pest management.