Assessing RNA interference gene targets of root-knot nematodes
Rambo-Martin, Benjamin Livingston
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Root-knot nematodes (RKN) account for losses over $200 million in soybean yield year-1 in the United States. RKN establishes a feeding site within plant roots by altering gene expression in root cells, causing those cells to enlarge and adjacent cells to proliferate, netting visible galls. The identification of RKN genes involved in plant parasitism opened the possibility for developing RKN resistant soybean by disrupting these genes expression using RNA interference (RNAi). Accordingly, the effectiveness of targeting two RKN parasitism genes, 17H02 and 31H06, to confer resistance in soybean is evaluated. Composite soybean, ‘Peking,’ plants were created by inoculating newly emerging radicals with A. rhizogenes strain K599 harboring binary vectors designed to produce double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Targeting two genes simultaneously is also tested. Finally, two promoters, a ubiquitin promoter from Glycine max (GmUbi) and a phosphate transporter promoter from Medicago truncatula (MtPt1) are compared for their effectiveness at obtaining RKN resistance.