Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A vaccine for edible plants? A new plant protection method on the horizon

Pests and plant diseases can cause crop losses and can be a threat to global food security. The disease is now fought with a pesticide, that is sprayed all over plants and could also cause harm to your health. Dr. Minna Poranen found a new approach to plant protection, which involves plants fighting against pathogens with double stranded RNA molecules. This can be sprayed directly onto the leaves without harmful consequences. This vaccine triggers an innate defense mechanism of plants known as a RNA inference. This is beneficial because you can choose which pathogens you want to target by using RNA molecules, which share sequence, identify with the pest's genes, which prevents their expression. This allows us to target the plant disease or pest and keeps the expression of genes in the plant protected.  The Academy of Finland’s Synthetic Biology Research Programme demonstrated the efficacy of RNA based vaccines, using it against plant virus infections.  There is no release date as to when this vaccine will be made available because there is no relevant legislation yet.

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