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RNA interference in plant parasitic nematodes: a summary of the current status

  • C. J. LILLEY (a1), L. J. DAVIES (a1) and P. E. URWIN (a1)

RNA interference (RNAi) has emerged as an invaluable gene-silencing tool for functional analysis in a wide variety of organisms, particularly the free-living model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. An increasing number of studies have now described its application to plant parasitic nematodes. Genes expressed in a range of cell types are silenced when nematodes take up double stranded RNA (dsRNA) or short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that elicit a systemic RNAi response. Despite many successful reports, there is still poor understanding of the range of factors that influence optimal gene silencing. Recent in vitro studies have highlighted significant variations in the RNAi phenotype that can occur with different dsRNA concentrations, construct size and duration of soaking. Discrepancies in methodology thwart efforts to reliably compare the efficacy of RNAi between different nematodes or target tissues. Nevertheless, RNAi has become an established experimental tool for plant parasitic nematodes and also offers the prospect of being developed into a novel control strategy when delivered from transgenic plants.

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