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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet Research » Research » Research Project #440113

Research Project: New Strategies for Management of Cercospora Leaf Spot and Rhizomania Diseases of Sugarbeet

Location: Sugarbeet Research

Project Number: 3060-21000-045-021-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

Objective:
Cercospora leaf spot (CLS) and rhizomania are two of the most important diseases of sugarbeet worldwide. New strategies are needed to manage these diseases. Our objectives are to identify regions of the pathogen genomes that can be exploited as targets using double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) gene silencing approaches. These targets will be developed into spray-induced gene silencing (SIGS) and/or via electroporation-incorporated gene silencing (EIGS) strategies of sugarbeet seeds for plant disease management.

Approach:
The cooperator will carry out the following: 1. Identify dsRNA targets. The genomes of both pathogens are available, and targets will be chosen that will inhibit growth of each pathogen. 2. Produce dsRNAs. dsRNAs will be produced using commercial kits and tested in vitro to assess whether fungal growth has been arrested. 3. Optimize dsRNA application in the induction of RNAi to leaves or roots of sugarbeet seedlings as inducers of systemic resistance. The inhibition of targeted genes will be validated, and pathogen growth will be quantified.