Evaluating the Feasibility of Commercializing Genetically Engineered Nematode Resistant Anthuriums
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
FITCH, MAUREEN M M
99-1819 AIEA HTS DR, Aiea, HI, 96701-2941
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractNematodes cause $8 billion in damage to U.S. crops and $80 billion worldwide. Anthurium, a cutflower and potted plant specialty crop, is very susceptible to nematodes, necessitating continued grower reliance on toxic chemical controls that face the threat of being taken off the market at any time. Without controls, field flower production is reduced 50% and plants eventually die. More economical and sustainable controls, such as host plant resistance, are needed. Anthuriums were transformed with RNA interference (silencing) genes for nematode resistance. Silencing a homologous gene in soybean cyst nematodes resulted in 85% reduction of nematode eggs on transgenic soybeans compared to controls. We propose to confirm gene transfer, regenerate plants, and develop a quick, 4-week tissue culture bioassay to screen transgenic lines. The quick bioassay will replace the traditional, expensive 3- to 4-month potted plant bioassay. In this Phase I project, the most resistant lines will be validated by pot tests and prepared for Phase II field tests. Phase II will include completion of pot tests and collection of molecular and field data for federal deregulation, patenting, and intellectual property licensing. In Phase III, the most resistant lines will be advanced toward commercialization by deregulation, intellectual property licensing from the owners of the technologies used, and patenting of the lines. The plants developed will be property of the company and will be licensed for use by growers. Growers benefit from increased yield and revenues from plants with stronger root systems and decreased environmental and worker exposure to toxic chemicals.
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