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Selective Gene Silencing Leads to Ultra-low Gossypol Cottonseed
Sunday, 2020/02/16 | 05:35:28

Scientist Keerti Rathore and team from Texas A&M University used selective RNA interference to selectively silence the gene δ-cadinene synthase to reduce gossypol concentration in the seed by 97%, without lowering the gossypol in other parts of the cotton plant where it is needed as defense against insects and diseases. The results are published in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

 

The global output of cottonseed contains ∼10.8 trillion grams of protein that can meet the basic protein requirements of ∼590 million people at a rate of 50 g/day. However, gossypol, which is a toxic substance in seed glands, makes the cottonseed unsafe as food or feed. Thus, the researchers used selective RNAi to produce ultra-low gossypol cottonseed (ULGCS), which is safe as food or feed. Field trials held in multiple states and several years validated the stability and heritability of the trait without any effect on agronomic performance. Thus, global adoption of ULGCS event, TAM66274, could significantly enhance nutrition security and increase farmers' income without additional land and inputs, making cotton farming more sustainable.

 

TAM66274 was deregulated by USDA- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in October 2018 and Food and Drug Administration concluded its food safety consultation in September 2019.

 

Download the open access article in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

 

Figure: Structures and proposed biosynthetic pathway of gossypol and other terpenoids in cotton plants. δ-Cadinene synthase (dCS) gene was targeted for silencing in the seed only, through RNAi to interfere with gossypol biosynthesis.

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