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Mol Plant Pathol. 2008 Jan;9(1):73-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1364-3703.2007.00447.x.

Strategies for antiviral resistance in transgenic plants.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University, Binnenhaven 11, 6709 PD, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Genetic engineering offers a means of incorporating new virus resistance traits into existing desirable plant cultivars. The initial attempts to create transgenes conferring virus resistance were based on the pathogen-derived resistance concept. The expression of the viral coat protein gene in transgenic plants was shown to induce protective effects similar to classical cross protection, and was therefore distinguished as 'coat-protein-mediated' protection. Since then, a large variety of viral sequences encoding structural and non-structural proteins were shown to confer resistance. Subsequently, non-coding viral RNA was shown to be a potential trigger for virus resistance in transgenic plants, which led to the discovery of a novel innate resistance in plants, RNA silencing. Apart from the majority of pathogen-derived resistance strategies, alternative strategies involving virus-specific antibodies have been successfully applied. In a separate section, efforts to combat viroids in transgenic plants are highlighted. In a final summarizing section, the potential risks involved in the introduction of transgenic crops and the specifics of the approaches used will be discussed.

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