IRRI scientist develops BPH pest resistant gene
Nov. 28, 2017
The NILs are the first in the world and those have 10 different resistance genes inserted into the susceptible variety IR24 by conventional breeding.As extensive use of pesticides proved to be more harmful for environment and made the insects pesticide resistance, Jena said his team started working on host-plant resistance as an effective and environment-friendly approach to reducing insect damage and increasing rice yield.“We have developed the NILs with different high potential resistance genes for protection against BPH. I am helping the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) at Cuttack to use this in Odisha. Some very good resistant lines are now in the pipeline. I have also cloned a new resistance gene for BPH and I am sure my work will help to solve the problem in future,” he told ‘The Express’ in an e-mail conversation.
Though earlier agro scientists had discovered 30 genes linked to the plants’ resistance to the BPH insects, those were not properly identified. Jena has successfully isolated the actual genes and pinpointed their location in the rice chromosome. His team has studied how these genes interact with the insects and understood the vector protein and receptor protein interaction.He said these can be tested in the fields against BPH population in Odisha and looked for the lines showing resistance to the insects. The agronomic characteristics such as yield potential of the lines in those areas also can be tested, Jena said and suggested that part of his work can be taken up by CRRI and the lines put to tests in the institute if they have those insects collected this season.
Since the BPH infestations have intensified in many areas as the insects developed resistance to widely used pesticides to overcome genetic resistance in plants, the researchers at IRRI are combining different resistance genes that have been identified through gene cloning. Instead of producing one kind of receptor protein, the plant with cloned gene can produce three types of receptor proteins to fight off the vector protein.
“We are making a package of resistance genes and developing BPH resistant IRRI breeding lines using IR24 variety. These genes can be transferred into other lines of Odisha for cultivation in the affected areas. If the State Government seeks any support, we are ready to extend help from IRRI. We can also provide seeds to look for solutions to the current problem,” Jena added.
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