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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Research Project #437339

Research Project: Potential for Genes Targeted Toward Fungal Plant Pathogen Control to Interfere with Natural and Applied Microbial Insect Pathogens

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Project Number: 5010-22410-023-01-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

Objective:
1. Compare the effects of naturally occurring fungal plant pathogen resistance mechanism in resistant and susceptible maize to stalk rot or ear rot to caterpillar pests that bore into tissue, when treated with insect fungal pathogens. 2. Perform the same comparisons using wild type and transgenic plants expressing genes targeting fungal plant pathogens.

Approach:
Maize inbreds resistant and susceptible to stalk and ear rots have been identified previously. These inbreds will be grown to a suitable stage. Representative caterpillar pest species will be inoculated with commercial strains of the insect fungal pathogen Beauveria bassiana previously shown to be effective against the caterpillars and the caterpillars added to stalk or ear tissue. Insect pathogen control efficacy and plant damage will be evaluated after a suitable time period. The susceptible lines will include ones that are suitable for introduction of transgenes. Representative genes producing antifungal products not active against insects and previously demonstrated to be effective when introduced into plants will be utilized. The genes will be transgenically introduced into susceptible lines. Empty vectors would also be used as process controls. Experiments will then be performed as just described on the transformed plants expressing suitable levels of the trangene protein products.