GM fungal-resistant chitinase peanuts developed
Researchers from the International Crops Research institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have developed genetically modified peanuts with enhanced resistance to soil-borne and foliar fungal pathogens. The peanuts express a chitinase gene derived from rice, with chitinase activity in peanut leaves being increased up to 14-fold. Resistance to late leaf spot ( Cercosporidium personatum), rust ( Puccinia arachidis) and the mycotoxic fungus, Aspergillus flavus, was improved, with transgenic plants having longer incubation, latent period and lower infection frequencies when compared to their non-transformed counterparts. The highest levels of foliar chitinase activity were associated with the greatest resistance to infection. Details of the study have been published in the Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology.