Researchers from Lorestan University and partners found that the knockout of the StNRL1 gene in potatoes enhances resistance to late blight and susceptibility to early blight in the leaves of potatoes. The findings of this study provide significant insights into the genetic approaches to control late blight disease in potatoes.
Potato late blight, a disease caused by Phytophthora infestans, and early blight, a disease caused by Alternaria alternata, have long been the common causes of severe yield loss to potato farmers. Farmers have been utilizing chemical fungicides to manage and reduce losses in potato yield. Hence, the researchers knocked out StNRL1 gene using CRISPR-Cas technology to improve the resistance and susceptibility of potatoes to late blight and early blight.
The results of the study show that the sizes of lesions in StNRL1 mutant lines were reduced, showing resistance to Phytophthora infestans. Similarly, this study also revealed that the StNRL1-56 and StNRL1-22 mutant lines are more susceptible to Alternaria alternata, a fungus that causes early blight in potatoes. This research accelerates the current efforts to develop potato varieties with increased resistance to various diseases.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.