Powdery mildew is one of the most important cereal diseases worldwide. Genetic analysis has revealed that mutant alleles of the Mlo gene cause broad-spectrum resistance against this pathogen in barley. In this study, the possibility of inducing broad-spectrum powdery mildew resistance against this pathogen by RNAi of the barley Mlo ortholog in wheat was examined using virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS). A clear correlation was found between resistance and accumulation of Mlo-specific siRNAs, raising the possibility of designing powdery mildew resistance in wheat by RNA silencing using both transgenic and non-transgenic approaches.
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