Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 8, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Potato is the 4th most important crop in world food production yielding 48 billion lbs. per year. Late blight poses a serious threat to the food supply. Outbreaks of the disease, threatening famines since the early 1800's, have recurrently eliminated or drastically reduced potato production and profitability. To provide for sustainable production of this food crop, various approaches to potato bioengineering are being explored. One avenue of research is ethylene receptor analysis. Modified ethylene sensitivity may prove useful in regulating physiological response of the host to pathogen attack. A BLAST search coupled with use of degenerate primers and PCR amplification has lead to a set of ethylene receptor homologs from potato. Additional approaches to pathogen control are directed at understanding how the organism causes a rapid watersoaking and collapse of plant tissue. Specific enzyme activities such as cellulases and pectinases, both from the pathogen and from the host, are being analyzed for their contribution to the disease phenotype. The expression of these enzymes by the host, coupled with their regulation by ethylene, is being explored. Modulation of these activities is expected to limit the rate of disease formation.