Slater, Scott & Fowler: Plant Biotechnology 2e
Case study 03
Virus resistance in sugar beet
The sugar beet company CUBE have re-evaluated the threat from rhizomania to the industry. Their beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) tolerant lines of sugar beet have been showing increasing signs of yield reduction due to a heavier loading of virus and more disease symptoms. As chief virologist you have been asked to propose several 'quick-fix' strategies based upon a pathogen derived resistance approach (PDR). Your rivals have patented the 'coat protein' approach, so you have considered the possibility of testing parts of the coat protein gene as anti-viral sequences or using a gene silencing method. You are required to present your suggestions to senior management. The contents of the report are at your discretion but it would include a detailed description of the virus's biology and structure and give a clear indication which parts of the virus will be introduced into the plants for testing. A full description of the methods that will be used to clone the sequences into vectors should also be included. Plant transformation methods should be described and the methods used for confirmation of vector structure and transformation are required. Unless directly relevant to specific gene isolation or analytical procedures, it is not necessary to include details of standard molecular or tissue culture techniques. The proposal should be fully risk assessed. Your report should also consider what other methods of resistance are available in the longer term, if your strategy fails.