Transgenic Cavendish bananas with resistance to Fusarium wilt tropical race 4

James Dale*, Anthony James, Jean Yves Paul, Harjeet Khanna, Mark Smith, Santy Peraza-Echeverria, Fernando Garcia-Bastidas, Gert Kema, Peter Waterhouse, Kerrie Mengersen, Robert Harding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Banana (Musa spp.) is a staple food for more than 400 million people. Over 40% of world production and virtually all the export trade is based on Cavendish banana. However, Cavendish banana is under threat from a virulent fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4 (TR4) for which no acceptable resistant replacement has been identified. Here we report the identification of transgenic Cavendish with resistance to TR4. In our 3-year field trial, two lines of transgenic Cavendish, one transformed with RGA2, a gene isolated from a TR4-resistant diploid banana, and the other with a nematode-derived gene, Ced9, remain disease free. Transgene expression in the RGA2 lines is strongly correlated with resistance. Endogenous RGA2 homologs are also present in Cavendish but are expressed tenfold lower than that in our most resistant transgenic line. The expression of these homologs can potentially be elevated through gene editing, to provide non-transgenic resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1496
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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