Molecular Transfer of Nematode Resistance Genes


  • V. M. Williamson
  • J.-Y. Ho
  • H. M. Ma


Recombinant DNA techniques have been used to introduce agronomically valuable traits, including resistance to viruses, herbicides, and insects, into crop plants. Introduction of these genes into plants frequently involves Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer. The potential exists for applying this technology to nematode control by introducing genes conferring resistance to nematodes. Transferred genes could include those encoding products detrimental to nematode development or reproduction as well as cloned host resistance genes. Host genes that confer resistance to cyst or root-knot nematode species have been identified in many plants. The best characterized is Mi, a gene that confers resistance to root-knot nematodes in tomato. A map-based cloning approach is being used to isolate the gene. For development of a detailed map of the region of the genome surrounding Mi, DNA markers genetically linked to Mi have been identified and analyzed in tomato lines that have undergone a recombination event near Mi. The molecular map will be used to identify DNA corresponding to Mi. We estimate that a clone of Mi will be obtained in 2-5 years. An exciting prospect is that introduction of this gene will confer resistance in plant species without currently available sources of resistance. Key words: Agrobacterium tumefaciens, DNA, Lycopersicon esculentum, Meloidogyne spp., Mi, nematode, resistance, tomato.