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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Research Project #440262

Research Project: Development of RNA Fungicides for Management of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on Canola

Location: Sunflower and Plant Biology Research

Project Number: 3060-21220-034-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Dec 31, 2022

Objective:
1. To evaluate the potential of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum virulence genes as targets for controlling Sclerotinia stem rot using spray-induced gene silencing (SIGS); and 2. To identify and develop nanocarriers optimized for efficient delivery of dsRNA to facilitate SIGS under field conditions.

Approach:
The first objective will be accomplished by (1) synthesizing dsRNA targeted towards S. sclerotiorum virulence genes; (2) evaluating the ability of the synthesized dsRNA to knock-down target gene expression using qPCR techniques and determining its effects on the overall growth of white mold fungus under in vitro conditions; and (3) evaluating the effect of foliar application of dsRNA on disease control by artificial inoculation under greenhouse conditions. The second objective will be accomplished by (1) selecting nanocarrier material based on their efficiency in loading dsRNA; and (2) evaluating their stability in greenhouse experiments mimicking field conditions.