SBIR Phase II: Control of Lesion Nematodes by Transgenic RNA Interference

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$500,000.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
0848854
Award Id:
84748
Agency Tracking Number:
0711892
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
893 North Warson Road, Saint Louis, MO, 63141
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
072669828
Principal Investigator:
James McCarter
DPhil
(314) 812-8024
mccarter@divergence.com
Business Contact:
James McCarter
DPhil
(314) 812-8024
mccarter@divergence.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will use RNA interference (RNAi) to limit damage to corn from the plant parasite lesion nematode by silencing genes in the parasite. Phase I demonstrated in culture that expression of specific double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) from lesion genes limited nematode reproduction and increased root mass. In Phase II, validated constructs will be progressed to whole plant transformation. Transgenic plants with expression of the dsRNAs will be tested in greenhouse assays for control of lesion nematode. In parallel, the validated laboratory assays validated will be used to select next-generation constructs. Success in Phase II research will justify a field trial program. The broader impact of this research is to increase corn yields by commercializing a biotechnology trait for control of lesion nematode. Agriculture is under tremendous pressure to achieve improved yields and ensure the availability of crops. A major limitation on crop are parasites that damage root systems causing annual yield losses valued at $8 billion in the U.S. Currently available nematicides are toxic. In corn, there are no genetic sources of nematode resistance. Using RNAi, we aim to create biotechnology traits that provide season-long resistance to lesion nematode. Benefits to this approach for the grower include increased yield, increased tolerance to drought and stress, decreased input cost and preservation of soil microenvironment. Benefits for consumers include increased availability of corn and enhanced food and environmental safety.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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