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Scientists Identify Important Gene in Corn


USDA scientists and their university colleagues have found a specific gene in corn which seems to confer resistance to three important leaf diseases. This finding could potentially help plant breeders build disease-resistance traits into future corn plants.


Three diseases-southern corn leaf blight, northern leaf blight, and gray leaf spot-all cause lesions on corn leaves worldwide. In the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt, northern leaf blight and gray leaf spot are significant problems. It is noted that no corn variety has complete resistance to any of these diseases, but varieties differ in the severity of symptoms they exhibit.


This gene, a GST (glutathione S-transferase), is part of a family of genes known for their roles in regulating oxidative stress and in detoxification. Both of these functions are consistent with a role in disease resistance.


Sourced: NAFB News Service