News from IBE (CSIC-UPF)
Methods to exploit plant defence mechanisms or changing plant metabolism by RNA silencing show great potential. For example, interfering RNA can be used to improve plant composition while enhancing levels of beneficial nutrients, and to improve plant productivity by suppressing undesirable traits and switching resources to more beneficial quality and yield traits. Likewise, gene expression in pathogens and pests can be targeted and plants modified to produce dsRNAs which trigger silencing and affect essential physiological functions in pest or disease-causing organisms.
The new EU-COST Action iPlanta will define and coordinate the most important research efforts for the development of these novel transgenic strategies across many EU and nearby countries with inputs from cooperating researchers in associated countries in North and South America, and Australasia. Members include scientists, social scientists, plant breeders, regulators, SMEs and others. Prof Xavier Bellés, director of the IBE (CSIC-UPF), and Dr Dolors Piulachs, are among them. The Action will promote scientific exchange and communication on the science, development, exploitation and biosafety of the wide range of RNAi systems being researched and developed worldwide.