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Trends Biotechnol. 2005 Jun;23(6):283-90.

Engineering plants with increased disease resistance: how are we going to express it?

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, UK.


Precise control of transgene expression is pivotal to the engineering of plants with increased disease resistance. Many early attempts to boost disease resistance used constitutive overexpression of defence components but frequently this resulted in poor quality plants. It is now clear that the extensive cellular reprogramming associated with defence will reduce yields if uncontrolled defence reactions are activated in uninfected cells. Therefore, for many strategies pathogen-inducible promoters might be the most useful as they limit the cost of resistance by restricting expression to infection sites. Although progress to date has been hindered by a lack of suitable promoters, new research should reveal more potentially useful native promoters. Additionally, the first steps towards 'designer' synthetic promoters have proved encouraging.

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