Submitted to: Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2005
Publication Date: 2/19/2005
Citation: Huang, Y. 2005. Application of functional genomics to crop pest management. In: Proceedings of the 24th Biennial Sorghum Research and Utilization Conference, February 19-22, 2005, Reno, Nevada. p. 62-73. Interpretive Summary: Recent advancements in basic biology and experimental technologies have substantially expanded our ability to analyze and understand plant genomes and to reduce the gap existing between genotype and phenotype. Genomic science is providing an opportunity to understand and modify biological functions to an extent never possible before. Crop genomics is the characterization and sequencing of a plant genome and analysis the relationship between gene activity and biological function. With these newly developing genomic tools scientists can analyze thousand of genes in parallel, to exploit the genetic architecture of crop genomes and to profile the patterns of gene expression. Functional genomics is of particular significance in agricultural biotechnology for identifying new targets for pest control and for identifying gene/enzyme pathways involved in processes such as pathogen-plant and insect-plant interactions, which will lead to effective pest management strategies. The genomic science is presently in its infancy, but it holds the promise and is providing the key that unlocks an exciting future for both crop-protection innovations and agribusiness.
Technical Abstract: Research in the life sciences in the post-genomics age is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. Particularly, recent progress in understanding plant defense has highlighted a complex, interacting network of signaling pathways leading to the induction of numerous resistance genes. Genome-scale methods are also revolutionizing the study of plant-pest interactions and are revealing a complex process (including direct resistance genes and regulatory networks) involved in plant defense responses. The key components of genomics and functional genomics include map-based QTL linkage analysis, genome sequencing and gene annotation, gene expression profiling, gene modification and regulation of expression, which can be readily applied to improve our understanding of host and pest interactions, virulent factors of pests, genetic mechanisms of host defense, and the regulatory aspects of expression of the host resistance. Thus, the discovery of novel genes, determination of their expression patterns in response to pest attack, and a better understanding of their roles in host defense will provide the basis of designing either new pest-resistant crops or more environmentally friendly pesticides for crop protection.