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December 15th, 2017 / Research Matters, India

Pest infestation of agricultural crops have been a long standing challenge faced by our farmers. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology here have developed a genetically modified variety of cowpea that is resistant to the Mungbean Yellow Mosaic India Virus (MYMIV).

In this research, the scientists have used RNA interference (RNAi) technology, a process in which small RNA molecules inhibit gene expression, to impart resistance to cowpea. In this case, certain genes of the MYMIV virus genome, AC2 and AC4 primarily responsible for the infection and need to be inhibited. Using Agrobacterium mediated transformation, a process in which Agrobacterium helps in inserting a gene of interest in the host plant, AC2, AC4 and fusion of AC2 and AC4 (AC2+AC4) were inserted in the cowpea. This new type of cowpea can now protect itself from the virus because it has the required RNA molecules to stop the attack of the virus. Read more