We are using the latest technology to create new plant immune receptors to protect wheat and other crop plants from disease.
Crop plants have low levels of genetic diversity, making them susceptible to devastating disease epidemics. Current breeding practices introduce disease resistance through a long and laborious process, usually targeting one gene at a time. As a result, resistance can be rapidly defeated when a new virulent pathogen race evolves.
Our project is focused on generating novel variation in plant immune receptors, akin to adaptive evolution of antibodies, in a test tube. We are utilizing the newest breakthroughs in DNA synthesis to create a replenishable biobank of novel plant immune receptor alleles. We are particularly interested in targeting devastating diseases of wheat, such as wheat stripe rust and wheat blast.
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