By Pat Melgares K-State Research and Extension
Kansas State University researchers recently announced a significant breakthrough in controlling the spread of the soybean cyst nematode, a parasitic roundworm that has caused anywhere from five to 100 per cent yield losses in Ontario.
Plant geneticist Harold Trick said the university has received a patent for the technology that “silences” specific genes in the nematode, causing it to die or, at the least, lose the ability to reproduce.
“We have created genetically engineered vectors [or DNA molecules], and put those into soybeans so that when the nematodes feed on the roots of the soybeans, they ingest these small molecules,” said Trick, who has worked closely with plant pathologist Tim Todd on this project.
So far, the scientists have found the technology has reduced the nematode population in greenhouse studies by as much as 85 percent. | READ MORE