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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42036. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042036. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Transgenic resistance confers effective field level control of bacterial spot disease in tomato.

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Two Blades Foundation, Evanston, Illinois, United States of America.


We investigated whether lines of transgenic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) expressing the Bs2 resistance gene from pepper, a close relative of tomato, demonstrate improved resistance to bacterial spot disease caused by Xanthomonas species in replicated multi-year field trials under commercial type growing conditions. We report that the presence of the Bs2 gene in the highly susceptible VF 36 background reduced disease to extremely low levels, and VF 36-Bs2 plants displayed the lowest disease severity amongst all tomato varieties tested, including commercial and breeding lines with host resistance. Yields of marketable fruit from transgenic lines were typically 2.5 times that of the non-transformed parent line, but varied between 1.5 and 11.5 fold depending on weather conditions and disease pressure. Trials were conducted without application of any copper-based bactericides, presently in wide use despite negative impacts on the environment. This is the first demonstration of effective field resistance in a transgenic genotype based on a plant R gene and provides an opportunity for control of a devastating pathogen while eliminating ineffective copper pesticides.

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