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J Exp Bot. 2014 Apr;65(6):1541-50. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru021. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Field resistance to Fusarium oxysporum and Verticillium dahliae in transgenic cotton expressing the plant defensin NaD1.

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Hexima Limited, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


The plant defensin NaD1, from Nicotiana alata, has potent antifungal activity against a range of filamentous fungi including the two important cotton pathogens, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum (Fov) and Verticillium dahliae. Transgenic cotton plants expressing NaD1 were produced and plants from three events were selected for further characterization. Homozygous plants were assessed in greenhouse bioassays for resistance to Fov. One line (D1) was selected for field trial testing over three growing seasons in soils naturally infested with Fov and over two seasons in soils naturally infested with V. dahliae. In the field trials with Fov-infested soil, line D1 had 2-3-times the survival rate, a higher tolerance to Fov (higher disease rank), and a 2-4-fold increase in lint yield compared to the non-transgenic Coker control. When transgenic line D1 was planted in V. dahliae-infested soil, plants had a higher tolerance to Verticillium wilt and up to a 2-fold increase in lint yield compared to the non-transgenic Coker control. Line D1 did not exhibit any detrimental agronomic features compared to the parent Coker control when plants were grown in non-diseased soil. This study demonstrated that the expression of NaD1 in transgenic cotton plants can provide substantial resistance to two economically important fungal pathogens.


Antifungal; Fusarium oxysporum; Verticillium dahliae.; defensin; field trials; transgenic cotton

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