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Scientists develop novel RNA- or DNA-based substances to protect plants from viruses
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: March 12, 2024 10:20AM

Scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg were able to
develop a method that could find substances tailored specifically to a
virus. Using this method, they were able to develop novel RNA or DNA-based
substances that can protect plants against viruses. The findings of their
study are published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Over the years, Professor Sven-Erik Behrens and his team have dedicated
efforts to developing strategies aimed at interfering with the process of
viral infection in plants and degrading viral RNA molecules within the
cells. In their study, the researchers described the "antisense" method,
which relies on short synthetically produced DNA molecules called antisense
oligonucleotides (ASOs). In plant cells, the ASOs direct cellular enzymes
acting like scissors to target and degrade foreign RNA.

In the past, the research team successfully devised a technique for
identifying suitable and accessible sites in viral RNA. Using the same
approach for ASOs, they observed up to 90% success rate in protecting the
plants from viral infection. Professor Behrens hopes to fine-tune the
approach and explore other applications of the newly discovered methods.

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