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Tech: Volume control for gene expression

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TLDR:

  • RNA interference technology acts like a volume button for gene expression in plants, allowing for specific gene silencing while leaving the rest of the plant unaffected.
  • Texas A&M AgriLife researchers, led by plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore, are studying RNAi and its potential applications in agriculture.

In a recent article by Seed World, the focus is on how RNA interference (RNAi) technology is revolutionizing gene expression in plants. RNAi functions like a volume control for gene expression, allowing for targeted silencing of specific genes without completely eliminating them. This technology has far-reaching implications for agriculture, from creating superfoods to eco-friendly pest control.

Scientists, including researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife led by Keerti Rathore, have been studying RNAi to explore its potential applications in agriculture. Rathore’s work on developing ultra-low gossypol cottonseed using RNAi technology has been a breakthrough in addressing hunger and malnutrition in cotton-producing regions.

RNAi has the potential to enhance food quality and safety by reducing the need for toxic chemicals in agriculture. Researchers are also exploring other applications of RNAi technology, such as increasing the oleic acid content in cottonseed oil and controlling corn rootworms with targeted sprays. As awareness of RNAi grows, its acceptance and use in agriculture are expected to increase, leading to more sustainable farming practices.

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