Biotecnologie per la resistenza ai patogeni

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Biotechnology for pathogen resistance

Alessandra Lanubile*, S Sarrocco, M Tavazza, V Ilardi

*Corresponding author

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


[Autom. eng. transl.] Conventional genetic improvement (in Anglo-Saxon terms conventional breeding technique -CBT-) allows the obtaining of new agricultural varieties since the times of domestication, helping to nourish an increasingly populated planet. Crop plants are susceptible to a high number of pathogens, including fungi, bacteria and viruses, which cause approximately 20-40% of annual losses in crop productivity and yield; the use of varieties resistant to biotic stress plays a fundamental role in increasing food production, while preserving ecosystems intended for agriculture. Defense strategies against plant diseases that depend on the use of sources of genetic resistance and agrochemicals are usually effective whenever they are used. However, due to the high tendency of pathogens to vary in terms of pathogenicity, resistant cultivars are threatened by these new pathotypes, strains and pathovars and ineffective plant protection products. During the pre-genomics years, traditional breeding techniques were based on the identification of resistance alleles, naturally mutated or induced, and subsequent incorporation into elite genotypes through crossbreeding. Such approaches were imprecise, leading to the insertion of large genomic regions, rather than single gene insertion. The revolution led by the study of the genomes and transcriptomes of important cultivated species has offered a new beginning to plan in a more rational, and therefore more effective, way to obtain resistant plants through crosses. With the advent of genetic engineering it has been possible to introduce only the gene of interest into the genome of the recipient plant in a short period of time, avoiding the co-transfer of unwanted genes coming from the donor plant. Genetically transformed plants are defined as transgenic, as they contain an exogenous DNA sequence, the transgene, coming from a gene pool external to the species. Among transgenic strategies, RNA interference (RNAi) has been successfully applied for more than twenty years to produce plants resistant to pathogens. Recently, new genetic improvement techniques identified with the acronym NPBT (New Plant Breeding Techniques), including intragenesis, cisgnesis, and genome editing, are developing in a complementary manner to classic transgenics. Among these, of particular importance and with great application potential, is genome editing which allows the sequence of a gene to be modified in an organism in an extremely precise and fast manner through the use of site-specific nucleases. This chapter illustrates the main techniques used for the genetic transformation of plants and the different biotechnological approaches used for the production of plants resistant to pathogens, such as viruses, fungi and bacteria.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Biotechnology for pathogen resistance
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationPatologia Vegetale Molecolare
EditorsCovarelli L, Ruocco M, Sella L Reverberi M
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Trasformazione genetica
  • RNAinterfering
  • genome editing


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