Thursday, February 27, 2020

Small RNA manipulation in plants: Techniques and recent developments

The term “RNA silencing” refers to the processes that depend on small RNAs (approx. 18–24 nt) to regulate the mRNA expression in eukaryotes. In plants, small RNA regulation plays crucial roles in development, in responses to biotic or abiotic stress, in regulating metabolic pathways, in maintaining genome integrity, and in defense response mechanisms. In the last few years, small RNA manipulation has been used as a research tool to identify and validate gene expression, and studies now extensively focus on applying this technology in commercial applications, especially in medical therapeutics and flower color in ornamental plants. This chapter covers current progress on the application of RNA silencing to produce plants resistant to plant viruses, insects, and fungal pathogens, and also in applying these technologies toward the improvement of agricultural crops and medicinal plants. This chapter will also discuss the challenges, limitations, and biologic safety concerns related to small RNA manipulation in crops.

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