Scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences used gene silencing
technology to control Verticillium dahliae, a major fungal pathogen of
cotton. The results are published in Nature Plants.
Findings showed that cotton plants infected with V. dahliae boost production
of two microRNAs and export both to the fungal hyphae for specific
silencing. The researchers found two V. dahliae genes targeted by the two
microRNAs that are vital for fungal virulence. V. dahliae strains expressing
either of the genes showed resistance to the respective microRNA exhibited
drastically enhanced virulence in cotton plants.