News of the WeekPlant Genetics

New Strategy Promises Lasting Resistance to a Rice Plague

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Science  21 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5943, pp. 925
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_925

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Breeders have found genes that provide resistance against rice blast, a devastating fungus that can cut yields up to 85%. But plants equipped with these genes produce lower-quality rice, and the fungus has quickly evolved to overcome resistance in as little as 2 years. At last, however, scientists appear to have found a winner. In this week's issue of Science (p. 998), a team of Japanese researchers describes a novel type of gene that promises lasting resistance without degrading grain taste.